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Wounded Healers

Articles by Dr. Colin Archer

Wounded-Healers

The Eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms   [Deuteronomy 33:27]
 
Underneath all the storms and tragedies of life; underneath all our personal storms of separation, isolation, despair and loneliness; underneath the paralyzing storms of suffering, pain and disaster- physical, emotional, mental, cultural and social; underneath that “monster of the seas”, hurricane Dorian; underneath life, underneath death itself; underneath all things known and unknown, are the alpha and omega everlasting and redemptive arms of the Divine, as concretely shown forth in and shines through the life and Spirit of the tortured, suffering, resurrected and ever-present Jesus of Nazareth, The Messiah-Christ - God’s human life.

I propose the establishment throughout our beloved Commonwealth, of Wounded-Healer groups - fellowships, if you wish – on each neighborhood street, lane or alley [job site or office], for the sole purpose of Listening, Praying [to God, as understood by each], Sharing, and Caring one for the other as persons who are at one and the same time wounded and healing souls i.e. Wounded-Healers. My underlying assumption is that in the wake of hurricane Dorian all Bahamians and residents [be they Abaconian, Grand-Bahamian or Nassauvian] are suffering, in varying degrees, the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, which will linger for years to come. [PTSD: a syndrome of sleeping difficulties, decreased concentration, hypervigilance, irritability, outbursts of anger etc.]. We, the hurt, the PTSDs, must also be the healers!

Each one should regard himself or herself a professional counsellor of sorts, one called to “profess”, to demonstrate, one’s peculiar profession; someone who has the innate ability to help oneself and others in a uniquely professional manner.

The term, “wounded-healer”, was first prominently used by the priest-psychologist, Henri Nouwen, in his book titled The Wounded Healer. “We must bind our own wounds [emotional, physical, spiritual etc. CBA] carefully”, wrote Nouwen, “in anticipation of the moment when we will be needed. We are called to be the wounded healer, the one who must look after his own wounds but at the same time be prepared to heal the wounds of others.” Nouwen also coined these impressionably memorable words, which aptly describes our situation at this profound paradigm shift in Bahamian history, and demands from all of us a fundamental change in approach to our underlying existential assumptions: “No one can stay alive when nobody is waiting for them!”
We, citizens, and honored associates, must be the ones waiting for fellow Bahamians, Haitians and any in need – indigenous or alien. Each one of us – young and old alike - is being called here and now, in our own inimitable and distinctive way, to stand in the breach, to help hold up the many bridges between life and death, hope and despair. All the while the everlasting arms shall be holding, empowering, engaging, inspiring you, me, us!

Form this day, this week, this month, your Wounded-Healer fraternity. Make contact with all the neighbors on your street, lane, maybe your block, as the case may be. Extend your personal and combined efforts of compassion, empathy, a keen, disciplined and focused listening-ear, and pragmatic ways to effect immediate, practical solutions to the multifaceted challenges now being pressed upon us. Let us turn face to face, one to the other. In times of crisis a hot beverage, slice of bread and a warm, secure place for a night or two mean a great deal.

YOU be the one waiting for the other. YOU be the one in whom another meandering, wounded or wandering soul can Trust, Touch and Talk. YOU are the professional. YOU are the wounded. YOU are the healer. WE are the wounded-healers. The buck stops with us.


“What a fellowship, what a joy divine, 
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.”
[Showalter and Elisha Hoffman]

 
Colin B. Archer,
Nassau, Bahamas, 
September 5th, 2019                       

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