Glancing at my hands one recent evening as I prepared for bed, brought a measure of sadness to the surface. Cuts, abrasions, scars, battered nails, and joints disfigured from arthritis. Told I had beautiful hands at one time, the current reality portrayed quite a different story. Yet the now time altered hands whispered a deeper truth, one that held the hidden beauty of wounded healers.
Though superficial beauty charms with the appearance of wholeness, our woundedness comforts with the intimacy of service in suffering.
Feeling the twinge of stiffness in my hands as I pulled back the covers on my bed, the same words echoed through my mind from all those years ago, “you have beautiful hands.” Only this time the words were spoken by the Holy Spirit.
wounded hearts, healing hands
Pursuing the place of vulnerability in any healing journey, taught me the importance of embracing the wounded, broken pieces of my life rather than hiding or discarding them.
Through the broken, wounded places we become whole, healed; but they also provide the conduit through which we offer healing and comfort to others.
The breaking open of our hearts and lives endows us with a greater capacity for love, compassion, and service. Within the embrace of our own brokenness, we become wounded healers.
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”Ernest Hemingway-A Farewell to Arms
Wounding and healing are not opposites. For from our own woundedness, healing flows outward.
Gazing back at my worn hands, I failed in seeing the beauty the Holy Spirit whispered, until He unfolded the secrets hidden in the scars.
Hands once unacquainted with hard work learned the labors of keeping a home, birthing and caring for children, washing, scrubbing, and cooking.
Hands though weary with wiping away endless tears of my own uncomforted grief, moved to offer the comfort of wiping away another’s grief, soothing another’s pain, and binding another’s wounds.
Hands once idle and lonely, sought the industry of sewing and quilting for the needs of others. Channeling the hunger for emotional fulfillment into the kneading and baking of bread for enriching the lives of others.
Hands once absorbed in binding my own wounds, learned in the binding of others’ wounds, healing flows both ways.
Wounds and brokenness often create feelings of isolation; as if we now bear a social stigma, disqualifying us from fellowship and service. But as Henri Nouwen notes:
“Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not, ‘How can we hide our wounds, so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?”
Full of examples of broken and wounded people, the bible displays story after story of God’s redemption in His use of wounded healers.
We hold the treasure of the greatness of the gospel and the glory of God which shines through the gospel in our fragile, prone to breaking hearts. (2 Corinthians 4:5-7)
Our willingness to serve others through our own woundedness pours out the healing balm of redemption into their lives, while simultaneously healing our own.
Becoming strong at the broken places, our own wounds heal as we comfort and strengthen the wounds of others.
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