Read this, folks (or, a Really Long Quote of the Day)

My good friend Robynne Peterson shared this piece from Donald Miller, and I loved it and felt it was worth reposting. (Also, I apologize for the lack of paragraph breaks — I have tried, but for some reason they won’t stay.)

“As I walked into the car I looked around the place, out at Mount Hood, up at my old bedroom window. It’s true I didn’t feel like the same person I was when I lived there. Everything John had said God would do, He did. He was bringing me into maturity. And on the long drive home I kept thinking about the fact God had never abandoned me, and I took comfort in the facts of Scripture. I am not saying I don’t still struggle with these things, because I do. I guess I just struggle less.

BUT I KEPT wondering about that initial question: How could God allow such difficult things to happen? You and I know the wound of growing up without a father, but I am talking about all the other wounds, all the other hardships human beings face, many of them so much more painful than ours.
A balm on the wound of that question came through a book I had been reading called Country of My Skull by Antjie Krog. The book is about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. The TRC was a commission established by Nelson Mandela to listen to and attempt to reconcile the country after the atrocities of apartheid. It was a sobering account, a group of men and women listening to their countrymen, endless hours of testimony so gripping and gruesome as to beget feelings of hopelessness.
Even as I read, though, I knew God was speaking to me through the pages. Before the commission was established, government officials asked Bishop Desmond Tutu what sort of person should be considered for a position on the commission, and Tutu responded, essentially, that the commission should be comprised of victims, of people whose lives had been ripped open by the horrors of oppression. But not arrogant victims, he stated, not people looking for vengeance. Instead, Tutu said softly, these should be people who have the authority of awful experiences, experiences that educate them toward empathy, and yet still have within themselves hearts willing to forgive. This, he went on to clarify, could be accomplished only through a deeply buttressed spiritual life. These people would be wounded healers.
And I had heard the term before: Wounded Healer. Yet I had never applied the term to my life. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it, whether or not God calls specific people who have specific pain into the authority of empathy? Experience is, after all, the best education. We are the ones who will wrestle with security, who will overcome our fear of intimacy, who will learn the hard task of staying with a woman and our children, who will mentor others through the difficult journey of life, perhaps rescuing them from what we have been rescued.
I knew, even as I read Antjie Krog’s book, that if these people in South Africa who had suffered unconscionable wrongs could rise in dignity, God would expect nothing less from you and me, having encountered lesser pain. And I think Bishop Tutu’s insight is a fitting thought with which to close this book. If John and I have a prayer for you and for the millions who have been abandoned by fathers, it is that we would not be arrogant victims, but wounded healers.
I can only perceive this as a dignified calling.”
Donald Miller, To Own a Dragon [Republished as Father Fiction]
Read this, folks (or, a Really Long Quote of the Day)

One thought on “Read this, folks (or, a Really Long Quote of the Day)

  1. Read the book. There were so many things I wanted to post but that alone was long enough.

    You can borrow it from me for when you ever have time to get some outside reading done. :)

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