I have always tried to help people--to teach
and write and interpret Christ's teaching in
ways that I hope will be helpful. But now that
I am growing old and am suffering from
various physical and mental difficulties, I'm
becoming very frustrated.
My most recent frustration occurred just
before Thanksgiving. My doctors had been
encouraging me to take regular walks, and
I've been doing my best, though physical
exercise has never been a big thing with me.
This particular day, I hadn't bothered to put
my contacts in. I can see without them--just
not very well. Everything is blurred, but so
long as we were walking around the
neighborhood, I didn't think it mattered. It
didn't--most of the time.
Then I stepped off a curb where the street
was eroded more than I realized and my
depth perception was off enough that I turned
my ankle. It didn't seem to have done any
damage, so we continued our walk.
For the next few weeks, it bothered me from
time to time--better at times, worse at times.
Then our granddaughter Katyana stayed with
us just before Thanksgiving, and we walked
to the park. It was further than my usual walk,
and I really felt it before we got back. "I need
to mention it to Dr. Batra next time I see her," I
He suggested that I call her, and surprisingly,
they asked me to come in that morning. I did,
and they sent me for an x-ray. I hadn't broken
anything, but the bones of my feet are
porous. When I went to the podiatrist, he
said I'd torn some ligaments in my foot and
gave me a boot to keep me from turning my
ankle again and doing even more damage.
Now I'm clomping around on an awkward
boot, elevating my foot as often as possible,
icing it three times a day for a month, and
hoping to avoid the surgery that used to be
standard treatment for torn ligaments. When
you reach a certain age, it's just one thing
after another. I'm really getting frustrated.
It isn't hard to be wounded. It happens to all
of us from time to time--more frequently as
we grow older. The hard part is taking our
eyes off ourselves and seeing the
woundedness of those around us.
That's where Nouwen's book comes in. It
seems that I can still be a help to others. I
can be a wounded healer. I can share my
experiences. I don't have to be the expert. I
don't have to have all the answers. I can just
say, I know what it's like.
I'm old and weak and hurting. I understand. I
get tired and angry and frustrated. I feel like
crying. I do cry. I cry and pray. If you want to,
why not give me a call and we can cry and
If this website has spoken to you--if you are
experiencing woundedness, if you seek
purpose in pain, if you identify with the
wounded healer, I'd love to hear from you.
Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and
share your experiences.