January 2016
Billie Silvey
An eclectic website about Women, Christianity, History, Culture and
the Arts--and anything else that comes to mind.
In my December website, I wrote quite a bit
about the
problem of pain.  In the first article,
about balance, I talked about visiting the
Getty Villa and identifying with the Hellenistic
sculpture of
"The Boxer," with his wrinkled
face and limp hands, obvious signs of pain.  

Later, describing my best and worst year, I
dicussed the pain of
climate change (the
topic of next month's website), and of the
violence, police shootings and terrorist
attacks, climaxing in Paris and San

The pain these events bring loved ones is
almost incomprehensible, and their
combined impact weighs beyond  anyone's
ability to describe.

Even on the last page, where I discussed my
leisure activities of reading and watching
detective stories, there was no escaping the
idea of pain.  Two characters in particular--
Dr. John Watson and Dr. Gregory House--
recalled the theme of the wounded healer  
that I had studied in various periods in my life.
The Wounded
It was a theme I had forgotten, but that began
to come back to me this morning in the words
of a poem.  At first it came back slowly and
with many errors:  "The wounded healer
touches each distempered part. . . ."  

I tried to look it up online, but wasn't able to
find it at first because of the holes in my
memory.  It did, however, lead me to
Nouwen's book, The Wounded Healer, which
spoke to me in its own way.  

Only gradually through the morning, the words
began to rearrange themselves until I was
able to identify a section of
T. S. Eliot's "East
Coker" that I remembered from my college

The balance of this website treats the
lines, the
Nouwen book and what the concept
of the
wounded healer means to me in my
current state of ministry, health and pain.

I'd like to read your thoughts on this topic, or
anything else that comes to mind.  Please
write me at
The pain of the Hellenistic sculpture "The
Boxer" (above), is seen in Dr. Gregory House
(above right) and Dr. John Watson (far right), two
wounded healers in popular culture and the
legend of Chiron in Greek mythology (below).
In Greek mythology, Chiron was a centaur
who was poisoned with an incurable wound
by one of
Hercules' arrows.  As he searched
for a cure, he discovered how to heal others,
and as he began to heal them, he found
relief from his own wounds.

In psychology,
Carl Jung used this image to
develop his concept of the wounded healer
who feels compelled to treat others because
of his or her own wounds.

Research has shown that 73.9% of
counselors and psychotherapists have
experienced one or more wounding
experiences leading to their career choice.

Of course, the ultimate wounded healer is
Jesus Christ himself.  "But he was pierced
for our transgressions, he was crushed for
our iniquities; the punishment that brought
us peace was upon him, and by his wounds
we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).