I once went to an arboretum and saw an exhibit of valuable and exotic woods. Some of the most beautiful of them had swirling twisting grain, or little black marks sprinkled through them. I learned that these special grains form in a tree where it has been injured. A burl or gall may form. One might think that this injury would hinder the tree, that it should be removed, cut off. But in fact the tree incorporates the wound into itself and grows differently in this area. These woods are the ones most prized by artists and craftsmen for their uniqueness and beauty.
As human beings, we too have experienced injuries. Whether they are within or without, whether personal or global, we have been wounded. We may think that we would be better off without these wounds, we could be so much more helpful and productive without them. We may want to disown them, to cut them off. We may wish for them to be removed because they are so painful.
But when we consider who we turn to with our pain and our struggles, we find that they are the people who can say, “I understand. I have been there too.” These are the people who have been wounded and have integrated their wounds into themselves, who have grown through them.
And there is One who has experienced the worst of what a human being can suffer, who understands, who has been there too. In the Risen One we can see that his wounds have become an essential part of his nature. In artwork we see them depicted with light streaming from them. They have healing power. Seeing this, we can begin to accept that we too are wounded and begin to incorporate our wounds into our very being. We grow through them and they become the most valuable and prized parts of us. They have healing power.
Contemplation by Jeana Lee, Seminary Student