The past few weeks have been difficult.
Four weeks ago, doctors in Columbus replaced my Mother’s right hip. The procedure was a complete success. The days following, less so. For two weeks, serious complications plagued Mom’s recovery, each requiring a trip to Columbus. These past two weeks, we have cared for Mom in our home with the help of home health and rehab. Without the loving care of Erin, our family, and our extended church family, we would not have endured in the same way.
I missed you while I was gone. You were wonderful. The calls, texts, and emails offered encouragement during a challenging time. I’ve been thinking of our patron saint. Well, if Highland Hills had a patron saint, it might be Henri Nouwen. Nouwen served as a Catholic priest, professor of psychology and theology, and an author. After almost two decades of teaching at Yale and Harvard, he spent the rest of his life serving as a pastor in L’Aarche, a community of people with neuro/developmental differences near Toronto.
As I am not accustomed to receiving care, I’ve been reflecting on a concept popularized by Nouwen, that of a “wounded healer.” Wounded healers offer their hurt to help others receive comfort and encouragement. They share in the sufferings of Christ, and they share with other people the compassion of Christ. They become a gentle, reliable, and sympathetic presence for the people around them.
Many of you have offered your own stories of caregiving and eldercare. You have spoken, from a place of experience, words of encouragement and comfort, along with a healthy amount of comfort food. Our sharing this life together makes more of each of us. Thank you for encouraging us during this time of caregiving with my family.
Thank you for offering care and for sometimes teaching me how to receive it. Your witness to us in this time brought this text to mind:
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-12