“Our own wounds can be vehicles for examining our essential natures, revealing the deepest textures of our hearts and souls, if only we will sit with them, open ourselves to the pain, and allow ourselves to be taught.” Wayne Muller
Each of us is gifted with our own woundedness.
We are also gifted with inner windows of perception through which we can peer, in order to discover healing and transformation.
We carry our individual wounds; the specific and personalized pain that plagues us and seems to interfere with our personal well-being and peace. Psychology refers to these as complexes, trauma wounds, or feeling states.
Yet, who among us naturally considers our wounds as windows? Perhaps even wonderful opportunities for growth?
They feel anything but wonderful. Certainly not opportunities.
Wounds are painful. In depression, we feel lost, lonely and without purpose. In anxious states we are racked with fear, foreboding, and relentless worry. In the aftermath of abuse, we are plagued with flashbacks and injuries to our sense of self that impact us in every facet of our lives. Divorce, death of loved ones, financial disaster; the list of life’s injuries is endless.
We experience theses injuries as hinderances. As attitudes and feelings that must be corrected and overcome if we are to find health and happiness. Books flood the marketplace and our consciousness offering a myriad of ways, even “evidenced based” ways, of overcoming and changing these obstacles.
As a therapist working daily with my clients and myself in the pursuit of psychological and emotional health, I value much of what this theory and research has to offer.
And yet, there is more.
Our wounds are our windows, if we allow them to be so. Pain is a part of life. If we partner with it, pain can become our professor, guiding us to the wisdom of our deeper souls. A dance partner whose rhythm moves us into a cadence of healing.
Wayne Muller, therapist and graduate of Harvard Divinity School, teaches us that; “Your challenge is not to keep trying to repair what is damaged. You need not repair, reconstruct, or remake yourself into someone else. Your practice is simply to reawaken what is already wise and strong, to claim what is deep and true within you, to rediscover your own intuition, to find your inner balance, and to reaffirm your intrinsic wholeness in the eyes of God.”
Isaiah, speaking for God in chapter 45 promises, “I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
Most of us need mentors to guide us in our search for these hidden treasures. Betty Skinner at age 95 has aged into a modern-day Christian mystic. Her life is chronicled by two lifelong disciples, Dr. Cathy Snapp and Kitty Crenshaw in their beautiful book, The Hidden Life Awakened, in which they share the story of Betty’s journey out of major depression and into the light of life of joy, freedom, and purpose.
Betty blesses us with reflections on her vision through the window of her woundedness into the Light. “As I look back on my life’s journey-and retrospect is such a beautiful view-I have learned that, just as the mist of our uncertainty coalesces and then opens us to glimpses of brilliant hope and vision, so too our times of darkness and pain reveal and illuminate the mystery and beauty of our true self hidden within. Faith is a pilgrimage of the heart, a walk in the dark. It is an endless letting go toward the Light. Faith carries us along on a tide of God’s promises beyond the mire and desolation of our own despair. It is God ringing our hearts like a bell, a holy summons asking us to take the next step into the unknowing.”
We are an Easter People.
As Christians, we have just moved through our Easter season, deeply embedded in remembrance of Jesus’ journey through immense woundedness: betrayal, insult, extreme cruelty, and death. We see Jesus embracing his woundedness for the sake of the resurrection he valued so much more. We look through the window of his wounds and see the resurrected Christ. The one whose power was released into a second life of transcendent blessing.
“There is always resurrection behind each of life’s crucifixions, if we will but look.” Ron Greer
Our aim in the One Lamb Initiative is to support you in this healing journey, to increase understanding about the myriad of ways we are challenged as human beings and our vast opportunities for healing. Towards that end, we will be offering you informative articles on anxiety, depression, ADHD, suicide, and other mental wellness issues derived from the literature of psychology, science, and theology. You will hear live and recorded testimonials from brave, struggling people who are willing to share their growth experiences. Professionals from the healing arts will share their wisdom and expertise. We will provide you with book reviews and other resources.
We offer all of this because we truly believe that our wounds are our windows. And, that through joining together, we can bolster the courage to step up on the footstools at the window of our wounds, peer through them and, as the old Spiritual sings, “Open up the window~let the dove fly in.”
Martha Tate, LCSW