Friday, March 5, 2010

The stumblings of self discovery

've been re-reading Henri Nouwen's Wounded Healer and remembering why I loved it all those years ago. I find it so affirming and believe it is speaking even more directly to my ministry this time 'round. The ministry of us all.

Basically, Nouwen says it's through our woundedness that we are able to see others as ourselves and feel compassion, a compassion to action.

What he says really resonates with who I believe Jesus is -- or, at least, my evolving view. Jesus was one of the early examples of the wounded healer, no matter how you view the resurrection. I am beginning to come to terms with the resurrection and, for a longtime, decided it did not matter to me whether it was a real historical event. I am somewhat of a mystic and know Jesus in that way. That's why I didn't have to square whether or not the event happened.

As I think about this now, I realize I tend to believe the resurrection. Otherwise, why would I have had a mystical relationship with Jesus since I was three if there had not been some transformation?

The next logical question for me to explore, I guess, is whether Jesus was the actual son of God. Again, I have never really felt compelled to answer that personally. I enjoy living in the mystery.

Being human and broken, Nouwen writes, and recognizing it is exactly why we can have compassion.

It is in internally traversing that woundedness that we can serve as guides to others. Not just guides in the been-there, done-that sense, but as an example for others to take on the exploration of the soul.

Nouwen reminds me that St. Teresa of Avilla and St. John of the Cross, who look so wise across the centuries, had their doubts and often asked for such guidance. I like knowing that I am not any different. That in our stumblings we are on a journey of self discovery. And the only thing scarier, I believe, is not undertaking that journey.

• Have I explored my woundedness? How?
• How has that or can that help me relate to others?
• What gifts have arisen from those wounds?
• Is there ministry [substitute another word if this is too intimidating] for me there?

The path is rarely clear.
Typically no signs or directions.
Often murky and muddy.

But something calls
me on, calls me forward.

Knowing the experience
others have shared
makes it easier to
risk this arduous journey.

Knowing I may,
some day,
be able to share my
journey as
softens the sharp edges.

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