Read this week’s excerpt from A Healing Walk with St. Ignatius, “Hoarding Our Gifts”:
It’s important to understand that healing involves more than the wound. A wound can usually get better; and most pain will eventually subside. Situations resolve, and life goes on. But the need for healing remains. Why?
The need for healing remains because of what happens to us when we are harmed. Perhaps you are critically injured in a car accident. After surgeries and painkillers and then weeks in rehabilitation, you get your life back. Only it’s not the life you had before. The life you return to has absorbed a whole new realm of fear and helplessness. The weeks of dealing with pain have changed the way you operate from day to day. The recurring memories of the crash have formed new, disturbing patterns inside you. Long after the scars fade, you will need healing.
We are shaped by what happens to us. Every wound—the death of a loved one, a lost friendship, a long illness, a disruption due to change in job or income, a dashed dream—each event and emotional season works on us at every level. If we do not allow God to infuse every day with fresh faith, life can devolve into a misshapen and fearful existence. If we do not cultivate trust in God’s constant care and the Holy Spirit’s ability to renew us constantly, our lives might become mere long memories of hurt and disappointment. If we do not walk with the compassionate Jesus, inviting his friendship to strengthen our hearts and minds, we could easily become more defined by our wounds than by our gifts.
It’s quite common to hear someone say, “Oh, I’m over it,” when referring to a difficult situation she’s come through. “I’m moving on now, but thanks for asking.” Our culture is so focused on action and productivity that we feel an obligation to recover quickly from whatever has hurt or discouraged us. But if we get quiet and sit with our deeper wisdom, we become aware of how profoundly we’ve been affected by events. We may need to cry or take a walk or stare absently out the window.
When we come to such a moment, it’s time to pray. It’s time to ask God for the healing that can reshape what the hurt distorted. I confess that ever since the accident I am much more fearful of driving. You admit that since that horrible break-up you have shut out nearly every person who’s tried to get close to you. We are living out patterns that owe their power to bad memories. God means for us to live out patterns energized by hopefulness and peace.
An Exercise for the Week
Does being wounded block your service to others or your ability to receive God’s gifts in any way? If so, describe how it does.
Set aside time this week to be quiet and in prayer. If necessary, do this with your spiritual companion. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the patterns in your life that indicate a need for continued healing.