“The level to which we grieve our wounds is the level to which we show compassion to others.”
— HENRI NOUWEN (1932–1996)
The true value of integrity in grief – to match one’s reality with one’s related experience, and not holding any of the pain back – is made manifest by the compassion we have for others as a direct result.
Somehow as we enter the fullness of our pain we come to rely on God, because it is too much for us otherwise, and as we rely on God, he heals us in the moment, and because we are healed – or know the way to healing – we are capable of extracting from ourselves the empathy to pour into others’ lives.
Others will be benefactors of the healing we ourselves have experienced, because we had the courage and humility to abide to the truth as the reality of our circumstance has enfolded to us.
The more pain we are able to bear in tapping into our grief-laden reality, the more compassion we have the capacity for – a sure blessing for others, to the glory of God.
The more pain we open ourselves up to, the more we need God, and the more we are convinced that God is the only answer if we wish to be healed. And this healing is not a once-for-all-time deal. The key is in understanding how we enter into that healing, and make ourselves capable to entreat God’s eternally-available grace.
In healing there is always a blessing for other people, for us in having done our work; to come before God, and make ourselves available, to be delivered and restored and revitalised for what is to be experienced now and for what is to come in the future.
God blesses us always, ultimately, for others and the communal result; for what we might establish for his Kingdom, in fashioning praises for the glory of God.
To be healed, then, is to obey God, so that we might become of use to God in proclaiming the gospel that saves! There are dead people, spiritually speaking, strewn all through life – all needing the message of grace as it is available for the healing.
We are saved that we who were once dead people, spiritually speaking, might proclaim the One who has made us alive; he has raised us from our veritable hell.
We are healed of our grief when we are at one with ourselves regarding our reality. We have dealt with our denial, our anger, and our depression, and in being healed, we show others – through our compassion – that healing is possible and the way to the abundant life.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.