There is an old apple tree outside my office. Each spring she wears a dress of fragrant white blossoms. This spring she is also giving shelter to a family of blackbirds nesting in her trunk. I watch the parents pop in and out of the cavity, bringing food to their young. The hole, the wound of a broken branch, has been there for years. Although the trunk is hollow, the tree remains strong and healthy. She teaches us that through a wound comes new life.
No one goes through life without acquiring some wounds. Your wounds may be physical, emotional, or psychological. Wounds hurt and wounds can weaken. They can make you susceptible to further illness. But wounds can also be very positive. With the proper perspective, your wounds can become a source of growth, healing, and deepened awareness.
A wound is like the plow which cuts the soil, yet also prepares the field for planting. Into our wounds life sews seeds of compassion, empathy, and understanding. If we nourish and cultivate these gifts we become an instrument of healing. Suffering opens our heart to the suffering of others. Through our own struggles we begin to understand the complexity of other people’s lives. Strangers become brothers and sisters and life acquires more meaning.
Wounds are paradoxical. They harm and they heal. They kill and they reveal. No one truly lives without wounds.
Wounds take away what is to create room for what will be. The wound that steals your innocence brings deepened awareness in return. The injury that ends one career opens the door to another. The wound of a loved one’s death can help you find the voice and wisdom of that person in yourself. And some wounds cut so deeply and painfully they carve a hole that only God can fill.
Wounds are mysterious. They steal and they give. They hurt to help you live. The false self never dies without wounds.