The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
I once asked: “Can we heal the soul, if it was wounded?”1. I have come to the conclusion that the answer is ‘yes, we can contribute to the health of our souls’. This is not intended as a success story: I am thoroughly aware that we live in a broken world, where many things are not cured, regardless of how hard we try or pray. But still I would like to reflect on my experiences, in order to make this concept a little more concrete.
I have been puzzling about the meaning of the words ‘healing’ and ‘wholeness’. On my first attempt at mindfulness meditation, they mentioned ‘wholeness’, as if I had now somehow achieved that. The word ‘healing’ is used in Church, usually sought by prayers. This raises images in my mind that we can somehow be magically restored to an original brand new state. However that just doesn’t seem right, I want to keep my history, even if it is full of brokenness. On the other hand I do have a strong notion that I need the ‘wholeness’ or ‘healing’ that other people mention.
A new light shone on my questions when I realized that being broken is not wrong. The Bible expressly states that God is present with the broken-hearted. No need to fix ourselves before being welcome with God. It is actually quite a good place to start: to begin with opening our eyes to see where we are and what we have been given.
Then I had the strangest experience during psychotherapy: I felt and saw two separated parts in my soul click back together. This profoundly deep experience slowly changed the way I view my own soul. Even though it left me with more questions than answers, it gave me a pretty strong intimation that healing of the soul is a real possibility. During that conversation I expressed a rather desperate desire, and then suddenly it seemed as if God granted me an insight in what was happening inside my own soul: I saw my soul, with a hole in it, desperately desiring fulfillment, turning inwards and finding the missing piece within myself! This made the two parts naturally click back together.
The words ‘healing’ and ‘wholeness’ have now gained meaning for me. I think both these words mean that we are reconnected to an inner life that God gave us, which will enable us to love all aspects of our souls. We need to love all the aspects of our personality, for God has created them. They might need some polishing, but they are essential. My fierce inner critic will jeopardize any new beginning that I consider, and question all my motives. But when I am friendly, even to this fierce voice, and acknowledge its useful comments (but not its derogatory tone) I can give it a place where it is actually constructive.
Love gives the warm and open atmosphere that will allow light in our brokenness. Love will bring back together what was separated. And then Love will shine forth from our reconciled hearts.
- In the end of my text Touching the Soul