Bring Your Pain Home


Now breathe.

Good. You may need to do that a couple more times to still your heart, your mind before continuing on. The words that follow are a gift of wisdom from Henri Nouwen. Each time I read them, I feel myself pulled into deep waters. Behind these words lie truth, and power. The power to change your life, perhaps. If you let them.

So pause.

And breathe.

And when you are ready… read on.

Your pain is deep, and it won’t just go away… Your call is to bring that pain home. As long as your wounded part remains foreign to your adult self, your pain will injure you as well as others. Yes, you have to incorporate your pain into your self.

This is what Jesus means when he asks you to take up your cross. He encourages you to recognize and embrace your unique suffering and to trust that your way to salvation lies therein. Taking up your cross means, first of all, befriending your wounds and letting them reveal to you your own truth.

-Henri Nouwen, Lent and Easter: Wisdom from Henri Nouwen, p. 24


Now pause. Breathe again. Consider how those words make you feel.

     Your pain is deep.
     It won’t go away.
It won’t be ignored it into non-existance.

    …bring that pain home…incorporate it into your self…
These wounds beg, plead, demand to be acknowldged. If ignored, the ripples of pain that emanate from them affect far more than you alone.

    This is what Jesus means…take up your cross…
    Embrace your unique suffering…
    Trust…befriend your wounds…
    Let them reveal to you your own truth.

What courage is required for this! What presence of mind, of body. Trust. Trust in the goodness of God, in the story He is weaving – through your own unique suffering. Can you feel it? The deep waters rushing all around you as you ponder this. Breathe. And pause. As often as you need. Re-read. Write. Explore the depths of you, and your own unique suffering. Be bold, be courageous, be whole.