“Without your wounds where would your power be? The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken in the wheels of living. In love’s service, only the wounded soldiers can serve.”
There was a time around mid-life when I was, to put it mildly, at sixes and sevens. I was seriously questioning the major systems of my life: spiritual, relational, and material. The most painful and most fearful part was that I really had no idea how it would all turn out – that is, how I would turn out. Will I get through this? And will I be able to keep close to my values, my friends, and my family? I honestly did not know the answers to those doubts.
To whom can I go? I asked myself. From whom will I receive the wisdom and understanding that I so desperately need right now? There were many possible advisors nearby and well suited. My answer however was intuitive and clear: A friend and mentor of my youth, now an old man and on the other coast, a “wounded soldier” who had been through many “battles” in several “wars” which had bestowed on him an immense moral power. “An old war horse” is what he called himself.
What I received from him was not any identifiable piece of advice, but rather a lot of listening, a lot of smiling, a lot of tea offering, a lot of understanding, and a lot of affirming. “You’ll get through this just fine,” he said; yet I don’t recall he actually used those words.
My most vivid memory of a more-than-two-hour conversation in a quiet booth of an empty restaurant in Washington, DC. is hunting for his car afterwards. We both had totally lost track of where he parked and we spent fully a half hour laughing and walking up and down the streets of Georgetown in search of it. Absent-minded? A bit, yes, in regard to parking. But a hundred percent present-minded to me. Who is a wounded soldier in your life? Or maybe: For whom are you a wounded soldier?
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