That moment in time is seared in my memory. I was sitting on the steps to a spiral staircase next to my dad's favorite, worn out lounge chair. I had recently moved back home after deciding to end a 5 year marriage that could have been a script for a "made for tv" movie. I was finally opening up to my dad about what had driven me to finally leave. I had gotten up the courage to stand up against the emotional, verbal and physical abuse and put myself first.
The silence hung thick in the air while he crafted his response. Then he said it. He said the unspeakable to me, "well, Suzi, you must have done something to deserve it."
My throat squeezed tightly as I struggled not to sob, not to lash out and defend myself. I knew damn well that no one ever deserved to be treated the way I had been treated. I was angry, dismayed and crushed all at the same time. Every negative emotion I had ever felt pulsed through my body seeking a way out.
And then it happened. A moment of grace that can only be divinely given.
There, sitting in that thread bare easy chair, was not my dad, but a little boy.
A little boy who couldn't understand why his dad berated him and called him stupid. A little boy who struggled to understand what he did to be yelled at or smacked by parents...parents that are supposed to love him and protect him. A little boy who grew into a man still fighting against his own misconceptions about his intelligence and ambition.
In that God given moment, I didn't need to defend myself. I didn't need to be angry with his callous remark. All I could do was love that little boy who still wondered why he was so unloveable.
In this miracle, forgiveness blossomed and I was able to move past the pain and hurt that I could have chosen to cling to. Forgiveness created a well full of love that could have been a dry hole descending deep into the Earth.
The reason I'm called to share this story today is because I had a similar grace filled moment.
I know countless people who question a God who allows so much pain and suffering in the world. Why would a God who is supposed to be the fountain of unconditional love and acceptance allow any one of His creations to suffer?
What's the point of this life if we're only meant to struggle and die?
Because it is our wounds that heal us.
Wounds hurt us, scar us, leave us debilitated. They can twist up our hearts and our minds so that they squeeze out all of the love and the light.
Yes, this is true...our wounds have the potential to darken every corner of our lives. But it is in that depths of that unknown, painful darkness that we can see the wound for what it really is. It is our prescription for healing and transformation.
**Religion alert for those who do not align with Christ**
People, Jesus was resurrected with his wounds...think about that for a minute.
He was resurrected in His glorified body but His wounds were still present.
Remember the story about doubting Thomas? If Jesus' wounds were not healed with the rest of His body, what does that tell us about the purpose of pain and suffering?
Whether they are physical, psychological or emotional, our wounds are meant to provide us with an opportunity to heal ourselves and heal others. If we allow any one of them to fester, infection will set in and we might die as a result.
So we can choose to define ourselves by our wounds or we can choose to transform them into well springs of love, compassion and forgiveness.
Whether you want to look at my statement as historical or metaphorical, this is I know to be true. Our wounds don't magically go away once we are healed. They leave scars that remind us that love lives on the other side of our pain and suffering. They are precisely the instruments for our transformation.
In deep gratitude for my one precious life,