Even here, in the silence of this room, I am not alone. This silence is alive with the unfolding of other lives and with the turning and movement of the Earth. I began to sense my connection to the world’s pain and my part in healing it. I realized that my transformation of pain into love was an act of service for humankind. By embracing my existence, I could bring courage to others to face their own pain and to acknowledge what it had to teach them.
— Yael Betheim, The Unhealed Life (as quoted in I Will Not Die an Unlived Life)
Your pain is deep, and it won’t just go away … Your call is to bring that pain home. As long as your wounded part remains foreign to your adult self, your pain will injure you as well as others. Yes, you have to incorporate your pain into yourself and let it bear fruit in your heart and in the hearts of others. This is what Jesus means when he asks you to take up your cross. He encourages you to recognize and embrace your unique suffering and to trust that your way to salvation lies therein. Taking up your cross means, first of all, befriending your wounds and letting them reveal to you your own truth.
— Henri Nouwen from The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom
If God is found in our hard times, then all of life, no matter how apparently insignificant or difficult, can open us to God’s work among us. To be grateful does not mean repressing our remembered hurts. But as we come to God with our hurts—honestly, not superficially—something life changing can begin slowly to happen. We discover how God is the One who invites us to healing. We realize that any dance of celebration must weave both the sorrows and the blessings into a joyful step. I once saw a stonecutter remove great pieces from a huge rock on which he was working. In my imagination I thought, That rock must be hurting terribly. Why does this man wound the rock so much? But as I look longer, I saw the figure of a graceful dancer emerge gradually from the stone, looking at me in my mind’s eye and saying, “You foolish man, didn’t you know I had to suffer and thus enter into my glory?” The mystery of the dance is that its movements are discovered in the mourning. To heal is to let the Holy Spirit call me to dance, to believe again, even amid my pain, that God will orchestrate and guide my life.
— Henri Nouwen from Turn My Mourning into Dancing