It would be a gross underestimation to imagine any of us making light of our deepest spiritual wounds. Whether we are patently aware, lost in denial or any position between, our woundedness—our shame—clings deeply, personally. It stings when scratched.
The problem is, for healing to take place—and we all need it—these wounds of ours need to be exposed and expanded upon. This is best done by lifting them beyond our personal experience.
Our vulnerability is the problem. Not many of us embrace such vulnerability. Lavishing embarrassment upon ourselves is nobody’s desired pastime.
Yet our core wounding has weight about it; it’s significant, it’s in our life, but finally, it is also woven into the narrative of life. Our wounding is more connected to others’ wounding than we realise. Our shame, our guilt, our anxieties, our embarrassments; they are more common than we contemplate.
Contemplating Our Shadows
Underlying much of our wounding is shame. When we dig down and beneath many of our presenting psychological pathologies—beneath guilt, for instance—there it is: shame.
We take an intrusive look into the mirror, to gain a glimpse of who we really are, and we wonder who is looking back at us. Do we know this person? Is this person looking back at me safe to be around? Can I trust him/her?
Our incongruity with ourselves, as seen through our psyche when we attempt to connect with that person looking back at us from the mirror, is clear. This is a common phenomenon.
As the Jungians have it, we could see our reflection from the mirror as symbolic of a shadow; a part of ourselves we are yet to fully understand. As nobody truly knows God, in and out, nobody truly knows themselves to the point of complete congruence.
This is part of the mystery of life: self-discovery. Yet we discover much more of ourselves as we observe others.
Depersonalising the Shame
When we can see life as limited through another person’s eyes, we understand that limitations are inclusive of life. Limitations, brokenness, and woundedness are common to the human experience.
When we understand there is nothing new under the sun—as the Teacher of Ecclesiastes puts it—we come around to the fact that our wounds are not a lot different—and indeed may even be the same—as others’ wounds.
This is liberating, for the shame we experience has been depersonalised. We may then contemplate glorying in such shame. From there is made a short leap to healing. And from there is our licence to be an operative for God: from out of our wound!
Embracing our wounds is central to our healing.
When we depersonalise our wounding, seeing how common our wounding is, we have access to healing truth. We are all wounded. This achieved, our wounds liberate us and power our passion toward service for God. We serve best out of our woundedness.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.