Life breaks us all.
But there are some who so enter their own suffering that – somehow – they become a help to others in theirs.
This is not their intention or their desire; they would prefer anything to this pain.
Yet these people, so weak, in some strange transaction make others strong.
Suffering touches every life. But some so walk it, in both vulnerability and courage, that they clear for others a path.
Broken by circumstance, they mend the circumstance of others.
I think Victor Frankl would be on many peoples’ list of wounded healers; a man who staggered out of a concentration camp, where he’d offered meaning to fellow prisoners, yet was still seeking it for himself.
There are other such folk, you’ll have met them, mostly unsung, local icons only.
I’d have Julian of Norwich on my list, though, because although she’s famous for her optimism, it was born in incredible darkness.
The visions which gave birth to her hope were received when she’d lost all sense in her body, both upper and lower; and had been given the last rights by her priest.
Her mother had declared her dead and Julian assumed herself to be so; indeed she wished it to be so, such had been the pain of her illness – ‘an illness unto death’.
Later – much later – she tells us that ‘all shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well’… and we nod appreciatively.
But while the healer draws the applause; it is the wounds, entered and lived, which create the climate for light.
The wounded healer…through the cracks in their being, light somehow shines out.
‘The Secret Testament of Julian’, my latest novel (published by White Crow), is an imagined life of Julian of Norwich, a story of wound and healing.