Light through the Cracks

Egg-Cracking-with-LightRecently, I came across a quote from the poet, Rumi:

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

It seems rather appropriate in this season of Epiphany whose founding story is about following the light of a star.  It also connects deeply with a recent experience.

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to witness a number of people speaking about their struggles with their own woundedness, and about their experiences of healing.   For none of them was the healing complete.  They were each at different stages in their healing processes, some further along that path than others.  Each was also deeply aware of their own brokenness.  In fact, it seemed to me that the very thing that enabled any healing to happen at all for them was their willingness to confront that brokenness and to befriend the fact that this brokenness was a part of who they were.  It was not the thing that defined them (though, it seemed, that they had each allowed it to in some way).   They were more than their brokenness, but the brokenness was nevertheless a part of them.

Rumi suggests that it is this brokenness, this woundedness, that becomes the place where the Light of God enters us.  We see the truth of this played out over and over again in the ministry of Jesus, whose own work in healing others was enabled by the consciousness of those who were healed of their own brokenness.  Over and over again in the Gospels, Jesus tells people who come to him seeking to be healed that it is their faith that has made them well.  For years, I have struggled with this idea, because for years I have interpreted it to mean that the healing that Jesus enabled was somehow dependent on the degree of that person’s trust in God.  It is a line of thought that too easily leads to the conclusion that if God hasn’t healed you, then you haven’t believed strongly enough or correctly.

But now I have begun to see the relationship between faith and healing differently.  As I consider the contexts in which Jesus points to this connection, it often seems to me that perhaps what he is pointing to is the ability or willingness of the person seeking healing to befriend his or her own brokenness, to acknowledge it as a part of themselves, to recognize it as the place where the Light can enter them.  And then the light does enter them.

Each of us is wounded, cracked or broken in some way.  For some of us, the brokenness is quite obvious to those around us.  For others, it is kept well hidden from public view – and, sometimes, even from ourselves.  Culturally, we tend to see woundedness as a weakness to be avoided and, if it can’t be avoided, to be covered up.  Yet it seems to be true that it is only by embracing our wounds that the Light can enter us – and, perhaps, it is through our wounds that the Light shines from us to touch the wounds of others.

2 thoughts on “Light through the Cracks

  1. And thus we rust Life’s iron chain
    Degraded and alone:
    And some men curse, and some men weep,
    And some men make no moan:
    But God’s eternal Laws are kind
    And break the heart of stone.

    And every human heart that breaks,
    In prison-cell or yard,
    Is as that broken box that gave
    Its treasure to the Lord,
    And filled the unclean leper’s house
    With the scent of costliest nard.

    Ah! happy day they whose hearts can break
    And peace of pardon win!
    How else may man make straight his plan
    And cleanse his soul from Sin?
    How else but through a broken heart
    May Lord Christ enter in?

    (From “The Ballad of Reading Gaol, by Oscar Wilde)

  2. Before we can learn, we must first admit to our ignorance; before we can be healed, we must confess to ourselves our brokenness. Until we see that we are broken and wish to be healed, until we admit our own futility, we cannot open our hearts to God.

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