skip to Main Content

In the shelter of each other

Dear God, in a world filled with ceaseless motion, help me to find and practice balance. Give me the strength to not put on blinders to all that is hurtful and wrong in the world. Instead, let me make a meaningful and healing difference as I move forward from a place of peace. Amen.
I can tell you that my heart is heavy today. Well, gobsmacked is more like it. And I really needed the geese to help me work through the weight in my head and heart. Sadly, they were “vacationing” in a cooler neck of the woods.
I would have started my homily here: It is in the shelter of each other that the people live. Irish Proverb (“ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine”)
If only we can take it to heart… But this is never easy, because we don’t always agree. To put it mildly. Sadly, to the point of eagerly dismissing and loathing one another.
We all hurt. And yet. Irvin Yalom reminds us, “Only the wounded healer can truly heal.”

So. Here’s the deal: Loving (bluntly, giving a damn) costs a lot, but not loving always costs more.
“Does it hurt?” the Rabbit asked the Skin Horse (about “becoming real”).
“Oh yes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “Sometimes it hurts a lot. But when you are real, you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” the Rabbit asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” (The Velveteen Rabbit)

Now, what does it mean to bring this wounded and real (hair loved off) self to the table today?
Craig and Irene Morrison, in their late 80s, are the heart and soul of Still Mine, a lovely film with great North Atlantic scenery. Living outside the village of St. Martins in New Brunswick, Canada, they are keenly aware that after spending 61 years together and raising seven children, their time is running out.
Trouble begins when Craig decides it is time for them to downsize, to abandon the sprawling farmhouse in which they raised their children. To something more suitable for Irene, whose Alzheimer’s is getting worse.
Craig announces his intentions of building the new home himself–only to be met with bewilderment. And his children doing their best to stop him. “Isn’t it time for a retirement home?” he is asked.
Unfortunately, in the years since Craig built his previous home, regulations have proliferated, as has the willingness of government officials to enforce them. So, when one particularly dogged bureaucrat gets wind of Craig’s project, he does everything in his power to shut it down.
From generations of shipbuilders, Craig knows wood; and he knows his wife, so he doesn’t need anyone else telling him how to do things.
This tough-mindedness also adds emotion and power to the film’s best scene, in which Craig runs his hand over a large pine dining table, worn and scratched after years of use and abuse.
“Do you remember when I built our dining room table?” he says to Irene.
“It was on the saw horses for so many years I’d given up. My Father helped me mill the boards. It didn’t help when Ruth spilled ink. I wasn’t that upset; you were table proud back then. A very nice piece of carpentry. First few years, every nick that table absorbed, I took it personally, it’s all I could see. Scratch from a skate blade, a ghost of handwriting pressed through a single piece of paper.
There were a lot of times I regretted not making the table out of oak. But as the years went by and the scars added up, the imperfection turned that table into something else. Because that’s the thing about pine; it holds a lot of memories.”
As he talks, his hand continues to touch the table surface, his face now part tenderness, part pride, part gentleness hewn from stories and memories.
What a strange web we weave.  We hate (well, let’s just say we are downright uncomfortable with) our “brokenness.”  Our woundedness.  Our imperfections. You know, those parts of our self (just like that pine table) that are flawed, skewed, damaged, beat up, wearing the marks of a full life… that feel not quite “together.”
I guess if we ‘fess up, “woundedness” is the curse of ordinary folk. For the rest of us (the educated and mature and enlightened), we can “get a handle” on this, “figure it out” or somehow “rise above.”  Lord knows there are plenty of people who offer us solutions and secrets and illumination.  (For a small donation, of course.)
But what if?
What if weakness, woundedness, brokenness is not a “fixable problem,” but an opportunity for love, passion, ministry, reconciliation and restoration? An opportunity for grace?

Polarizing issues invite and necessitate conversation. Why? Kelly Corrigan’s reminder than no one gets anywhere alone. If we forget that, we lose sight of the much needed compassion and empathy and healing which we so need. I do know this… I will bring my wounded self to the table to find space for sanctuary, healing, empathy, mending, compassion and grace. Pull up a chair… let’s keep the conversation going.

We too easily assume that woundedness labels us. (I’ve heard people say pejoratively, “You know, they’re very wounded.”)
The problem is this; whatever we label, we dismiss. And we don’t welcome the gift or find value in the wound.
So, this is a paradigm shift. The wound is real, but it is not an impairment.
You see, when our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.
Yes. I can tell you that this week I needed to hold my own wounds gently as a sacrament. Knowing that in the holding there is healing, and the permission to spill redemption to those around me.

Please stay cool and hydrated, wherever you are. (Which begs the question: in what ways are you staying emotionally and spiritually hydrated?)
And I look forward to conversations through the week…. remembering this; It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.

Quotes for your week…
Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” So, we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?” Henri Nouwen


Today’s Photo Credit:  “Hello from Paso Robles, CA… This is from our cabin in Mammoth Lakes, CA,” Debbie & Rick Minton… Thank you Debbie Rick… Keep sending your photos… send to 

Yes, your gift makes a difference… Donation = Love…
Help make Sabbath Moment possible. I write SM because I want to live with a soft heart; to create a place for sanctuary, empathy, inclusion, compassion and kindness… a space where we are refueled to make a difference. SM remains free.
(NEW address by check: PO Box 65336, Port Ludlow, WA 98365)

August 12 – 14 — Mary and Joseph Center, Rancho Palos Verdes CA, Soul Gardening: Sacrament of the Present Moment.
October 3 – 5 — Hinton Retreat Center, Hayesville, NC, Life in the Garden 

NEW Book – Stand Still: finding balance when the world turns upside down

NEW Audio SM… Enjoy — Sacrament of the present
Join us every Wednesday… Audio Sabbath Moment

Letters that do my heart good…
–Hi Terry! I am enjoying your new book “Stand Still” so much. I know it was written during when the Covid situation was so bad, but it speaks to us so much today to our hearts, our minds, our thoughts, our everyday lives. I learned a lot about Resilience that I didn’t know–trying to find “balance” is not easy–we stumble… and we fall, but we can get up and persevere… I’m trying to do that now… Your words and thoughts are a treasure, and we can find ourselves knee deep in golden thoughts with them, in Sabbath Moment too. Thank you so much. You offer so much to us, and our broken world. Blessings and Peace, Arla
–Please repeat this homily for Labor Day, including Frederick Buechner’s quote. I remember the story about your father and you being a hod carrier from your re-telling it. I have a story to tell about my father, too. When I haven’t lollygagged so long (read: spent so much time on my quiet time, which isn’t lollygagging at all), I will take the time to tell you. My father was “just a” grocery clerk, according to my mother. I learned at a young age how important he was to his children and to the store’s customers, who lived in an economically depressed area in the ’50s and ’60s and ’70s. He was the kindest, most untiring, best man I ever knew, and sometime I’ll tell you (and the world at large) the whole story. Peace, Jo


Heavenly Father, Accept my request and Grant me knowledge, insight, and correctness to use kindness to eliminate bitterness, bigotry, insensitivity, and all the other disorders that run in the human race. Use me, Guide me, Lord, to adopt Your kindness and to be a stimulus for change. Amen.

In These Times
These are the times
Tears fill the back of your eyes
These are the times
The birds migrate
Across the skies
These are the times
What hope you had you forget
These wicked times
You’re bound to feel
All sanity is lost
In these times everyone needs love
In these times do you pray to God
In these times everyone needs comfort
And would welcome a hand to hold
Compassion is the fire
That burns the hurt
That pains the soul
And though my eyes are so polluted
By the sight of lost desires
I can see you standing by
This is my fear
That distance will come between us
And it could mean nothing
To get from here to there
We own the world
And everything that’s in it
Let our love shine
Like glistening raindrops
Resting on a rose
In these times celebrate our love
In these times let’s be thankful of
All the days we can spend together
And I’m happy to hold your hand
Your passion is the food
That feeds the hunger in my heart
And now my eyes are clearly open
No more longing for the past
Now I have you in these times
In these times everyone needs love
In these times do you pray to God
In these times everyone needs comfort
And would welcome a hand to hold
Your passion is the fire
That burns the hurt
That pains the soul
And though my eyes are so polluted
By the sight of lost desires
Good to have you in these times
Joan Anita Barbara Armatrading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top