Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Don't Analyze: Taking Our Wounds To Heart

The following is an excerpt from Henri Nouwen's journal "The Inner Voice of Love." I will comment afterward.

"You have been wounded in many ways. The more you open yourself to being healed, the more you will discover how deep your wounds are. You will be tempted to become discouraged, because under every wound you uncover you will find others. Your search for true healing will be a suffering search. Many tears need to be shed.

But do not be afraid. The simple fact that you are more aware of your wounds shows that you have sufficient strength to face them.

The great challenge is living your wounds through instead of thinking them through. It is better to cry than to worry, better to feel your wounds deeply than to understand them, better to let them enter into your silence than to talk about them. The choice you face constantly is whether you are taking your hurts to your head or to your heart. In your head you can analyze them, find their causes and consequences, and coin words to speak and write about them. But no final healing is likely to come from that source. You need to let your wounds go down into your heart. Then you can live them through and discover that they will not destroy you. Your heart is greater than your wounds."

Here it seems that Nouwen is speaking of our hearts as if they are wombs wherein our pain and heartache can be taken care of, surrounded by healing and warmth.  Perhaps you have been like me at times, and found that "under every wound you uncover you find others."  But I agree with Nouwen that the fact that we are more aware of our wounds shows that we have the strength to face them.

But how do we deal with them? With our head or our heart?  I am often guilty of the former. I have been a  chronic over-thinker, but the only problem is that one of the places I have been wounded is in my head.  So asking questions about "Why did this happen to me?" "How can I think my way through this pain?" are useless. Instead we must find a way to find rest, a stillness of our minds, and take our wounds and pain to our hearts.  Nouwen continues, "You have to let go of the need to stay in control of your pain and trust in the healing power of your heart. There your hurts can find a safe place to be received, and once they have been received, they lose their power to inflict damage and become fruitful soil for new life."

Today I will try to take some moments to stop analyzing or reading into my pain, and instead let them sink into my heart where there is healing.