Every once in a while, my husband turns to me and says "you should really blog about this!" He had been reading Henri Nouwen again in his book "Home Tonight", which is a reflection of the story of the prodigal son.
When I gaze on this picture, my first thought is of our Heavenly Father, and his loving, compassionate touch on our lives - loving and accepting us as we are, where we are. He is the one who blesses, who heals, who forgives...
I also see Him through the faces of my friends.... those who know me and love me, and listen and care. I experienced this again yesterday as I met with two of them for a time of reflection and prayer.
There are times where I just want to move on to the "healer" part... but get stuck in the muck of the "wounded". Lately I have experienced much pain due to a shoulder injury that just won't heal. After another sleepless night, I ponder these things. I think about the man with the withered arm whom Jesus healed. I want to insert myself into that Gospel story and reach out to Jesus... "pick me, pick me!!"
And yet I know that even in pain, there is so much to learn. Oh yes, I joke I am a slow learner. But in visiting the sick, I too know what it means to have chronic pain. I understand the sleepless nights. I know the frustration of not being well. And I know the blessing of receiving the love and care of friends.
And being blessed, even in this place of weakness, I too can have compassion and empathy for others. I love the phrase, the wounded healer (another title of Nouwen's many books). I think of the famous line "by His stripes we are healed", and Jesus is our ultimate model, as He allowed himself to suffer on our behalf. So again, I kneel at his feet, as in this beautiful picture, and want to rest in His presence, to experience His touch, His healing.
And I pray that I too can aspire to bless others, as I have been blessed.