Wounded Healers

By Not Known

As I started to make visitation rounds, I was touched when members that we had visited were helped.  Often, a question would be asked by those in need, “How do I cope with the suffering?”

What do we do with the sufferings of those we care about? How do we deal with suffering for ourselves and for others? We find that we cannot always reach out to help others, as sometimes we too are suffering.  It is easy to dwell on our own suffering, or to think of the sufferings we experience as drawbacks; shadows in our lives that are not meant to be highlighted.  At such times, we may find ourselves denying our sufferings or simply going through the motions of our daily living.

In truth, embracing the suffering often unleashes the very healing we ourselves need as we receive comfort by God (2 Cor 1:3-4).  In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestled with an angel and in the process of becoming Israel, Jacob’s hip was wounded and he limped the rest of his life.  Yet in his struggling and in the place of wounding, Jacob found healing from his past and also a new purpose in life.

As wounded healers (a term coined by Henri Nouwen) and caregivers today, we need not be ashamed of the experience of suffering for it is the experience of life itself in gaining new meaning and hope.  We need not be perfect for we are not.  As we own and embrace the ‘woundedness’ of our lives, perhaps we will find that we can be more empathetic healers.  It is what often makes us co-journeyers of life with those we reach out to. It is also what gives us a special and transformative connection with one another; an understanding for another.  In this way, we may allow ourselves to bear and to grow with each other.

May we receive joy and peace as we dwell in the presence of our loving God during the process of ministering to one another.  May God’s love bind us as a family which takes time to care, pray and stay together.


Michele Tang