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Monday, August 18, 2008

Flying in the pain

What do you do when the pain is so deep that it even hurts to breathe? I am talking about emotional pain. The kind that makes you think that everyone can see what you are going through and that they are sitting in judgment. Of course, most if not all of those people are not even thinking about you or me. Here is some guidance to assist in flying with the pain.

Live the Pain
By Henri J.M. Nouwen

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 wounds to your head or 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 to your heart. Then you can live through them and discover that they will not destroy you.

God of wholeness and healing, I know that I am afraid of pain and acutely conscious of being harmed and hurt. Help me avoid my pattern of cause-and-effect, of rationalizing my wounds. Instead, let the soothing oil of your mercy heal my wounds; let me live through the pain and recognize that your joy is truly on the other side. Amen.

Pick one of the corporal works of mercy to practice over the next few days. The corporal works of mercy are as follows: To feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to visit the imprisoned, to shelter the homeless, to visit the sick, to bury the dead.

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