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"I caress the scar gently"

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Yes, I know: you've been wounded, and wounded again. The urge to hide is so strong that the simple act of stepping out the door, greeting another day, taking another risk, reflects heroic effort.

Welcome, wounded friend, to the company of the shattered.

The internet is rife with recitation of a line from the 13th century Sufi poet and lawyer, commonly called Rumi. "The wound is the place with the light enters." Translation is treacherous, translation from a distant time and culture in a language only distantly related to our own, even more so. The best translation of the poem from which the line is drawn exhorts you to look at your wounds, not to turn away from them in disgust:

Trust your wound to a Teacherís surgery.
Flies collect on a wound. They cover it,
those flies of your self-protecting
feelings, your love for what you think
is yours.

Let a teacher wave away the flies
and put a plaster on the wound.

Donít turn your head. Keep looking at
the bandaged place. Thatís where the
light enters you.

And donít believe for a moment
that youíre healing yourself.

Perhaps that's akin to what I tell my students: if it's not hard, you're not learning.

Omid Safi is an acquaintance of mine, Muslim like Rumi, Sufi-ist if not Sufi, a close reader of Rumi's, a teacher, scholar, theologian, gentle soul. He's taken rather a lot of hits and could easily be forgiven to retreating to his study and to the company of his four kids. Instead, he's used the pain as a reason to reflect and reach out. "we are all broken, fractured, shattered ... We are Wounded healers, Illuminated brokenness."

Where the Light Enters You

broken window
Light shines through

It was sunset
What colors

I am this window
the light

We are the brokenness

The beauty
is all of us

This window,
the brokenness,
and the light
is all us.

We all broken

Somewhere in us
there is
a healing

The Nur comes <-that is, "light"
from beyond

God is the Light.

The One
who gave me the wounds
gives the healing

We are
Wounded healers
Illuminated brokenness
Poets and sages tell us:
The Wound is where the Light enters you.
I look at my own heart
and see scars
scars piled on scars

So many deaths
and yet,
clings to me.
Some see the injury,
the pain
the hurt.

I caress the scar
This is where the healing
and the light
entered me.

The scars tell me
I lived through it all
and grew.
I survived.
Even thrived.

The wound
the injury
and the healing
are now all a part of me.
I pause now
at all the broken windows

O wonder!
the broken window
of my heart
this scattered light
How beautiful each of us
the broken
the unbroken
the healing
the light
The survival.

I have faith in you, dear friends, on your worst days and on the better days that spring from them.




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