Saturday, February 25, 2012

Go into the Place of Your Pain

No thanks.

I can't.

I don't want to.

It is a waste of time.

My father wouldn't approve of this waste of time - an excellent excuse not to make this journey, this Wounded Heart journey, don't you think?

As I prepare for Week 4, our dining room table is again a complete mess.

Yesterday, I sat in a rocking chair not to far from this table and cried as I read The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen. A friend is reading it too. She and her husband brought me the book this week, left it on our front porch with Cheetos and Oreos and dark chocolate, my comfort foods. She is in my prayer group, one of the women picking up the pieces of me, assuring me that God - our Father - would approve of this journey.

The thing that is killing me is that there is no pattern of classically defined abuse, physical or sexual, no incest or satanic rituals. And yet I am crying.

I am crying because there are isolated incidents, like the Little Red Riding Hood joke told to me by my high school teacher, exposure to the provocative images of women in Play Boy magazine at age 12, an ongoing battle with my father over my hair in sixth grade when my confidence is already badly shaken by middle-school boys who define beauty as NOT ME - a time when life is so very awkward anyway, without being a girl taller than everyone around her, a girl who wants to shrink and slouch, who is expected to play basketball because she is tall and finds she is completely uncoordinated too, suffering the shame of going up for a jump shot in her first game and coming back down with the ball still in her hands.

I am crying because I am so blessed. I am blessed by plastic bubbles of Grace that seem to surround me each step of the way, a pattern of God protecting me when I am unable to protect myself.

On page 26 of The Inner Voice of Love, Henri Nouwen writes:

Go into the Place of Your Pain ... the experience of not receiving 
what you most need ... a place of emptiness where you feel sharply 
the absence of the love you most desire. To go back to that place 
is hard, because you are confronted there with your wounds 
as well as your powerlessness to heal yourself.

I devoured Nouwen's words in one bite, one sitting, in spite of his strong suggestion in the Preface to take it slowly, a page or two a day, over time.
I returned the book to my friend, dropped it off at her house, picked up a hug from her husband, my friend - the man who drove her get away car the day she left the gift bag on my front porch, a man who knows my story.

We are powerless to heal ourselves. I am powerless to heal myself.

God knows this. Papa is there, has been there, every step of the way.

Jesus looked directly at them and asked,  
“Then what is the meaning of that which is written:
“‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; 
anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” 
—Luke 20:17-18 NIV

I am broken to pieces, crushed. And within this journey, within this Wounded Heart journey, my Father is reaching out to embrace me.

You have to begin to trust that your experience of emptiness 
is not the final experience, that beyond it is a place 
where you are being held in love.  
—Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love more


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