The last few days I have been thinking about wounds. Kahlil Gibran says the “the deeper the well that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” While living a very emotionally flat life, certainly can shrink the depth of your sorrow, it will also shrink the depth of your joy.
For many years, I tried hard not to feel deeply. If I kept busy enough, I could ignore the pains of living. If the pain did seep through, I would make excuses. I remember often feeling on the outside as a teenager. Because I was two years younger than my school peers, I used my age as my excuse for not being included in the “in-group”. What I didn’t understand at the time, if I don’t let myself feel the pain, I wouldn’t be able to feel the joy deeply either. It’s not easy to feel sorrow, but I remind myself that my well for joy is deepening.
Jesus also experienced the pain of grief. He wept when he heard about the death of his friend Lazarus. We hear his disappointment when he says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. (Matthew 23:37) His rage resounded in the quiet temple when he tipped over the tables of the moneychangers and roared, “My house is a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves.” Jesus didn’t hide from his emotions.
When we are wounded we will have scars. We can consider them ugly and try to hide them. Or we can learn from them, wear them as badges of honour that have taught us about life. We can wear our scars as the outward sign of a deep well within us, a well open to receive joy in all its abundance.