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Wounded Healers

(This post comes from Mark Cooper.)

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Cec has written about those he calls the wounded healers—men broken by their pain who are healing and at the same time encouraging others who face similar battles. A scene in the recently released movie I Can Only Imagine illustrates the principle of the wounded healer.

The movie is based on the true story of singer Bart Millard. Bart grew up being severely abused by his father—physically, verbally, emotionally. During one of his concerts we see Bart sharing a bit of his abuse story and the healing he is experiencing as an adult.

As Bart speaks, the camera keeps cutting away to a young boy in the audience. He’s around 12 years old. Those around him appear oblivious to his presence. He looks small and alone. He might as well be invisible.

We’re never introduced to the boy; we never learn his name; we never hear his story. But his face tells us that his pain is a pain we who were abused recognize. He is intently listening to Bart’s story, hungry for hope. The scene ends leaving us with no idea what happens next for this boy.

We were once that little boy, alone and invisible. But somewhere along the line we heard a story of hope, or watched someone living with courage, or just knew within ourselves that there had to be a way to escape the pain we were living in.

Because we’re healing, even if ever so slowly, we may be the ones who give hope to that boy. We may never talk to him, and we may never know his story. But he’s watching. And he sees something about us that is genuine and real. Something that speaks hope to his heart.

One day he will become one of us, a man who though broken by his pain is courageously healing and offering hope to the next abused boy feeling invisible in the crowd.

5 comments:

Larry Clemson said...

His song "Dear younger me" is amazing - I heard it live when they where in AZ. I sat there crying -
It is very encouraging!

Anonymous said...

though i could appreciate the movie from an objective point of view, i found it very triggering personally. it wasn't the anger, violence and abuse that set me off, though i spent much of the movie with tear in my eyes. i had already learned to deal with that kind of trigger. the thing that made me depressed and angry for the next week was the happy ending. In the movie, Bart experiences a reconciliation with his abusive father, who asks his forgiveness and the two end up in a close father/son relationship.

i never got that. no resolution, no healing of that toxic wound. the step-dad who abused me ignored my attempts to reconcile, even my misguided apologies for whatever "offenses" i had committed that caused him to reject and mistreat me. he died with the rift still yawning between us while i was in therapy for the abuse that i was only re-discovering in my 30s.

i couldn't help but ask myself and God why i could never achieve a degree of resolution like that portrayed in the film. after all, he didn't have the excuse of being an alcoholic - and was supposedly a Christian - even while the abuse was going on for 8 years.

i still feel a sense of unfinished business though i try to appy the serenity prayer - to "accept the things i cannot change.'

Lee

stanw said...

"As Bart speaks, the camera keeps cutting away to a young boy in the audience. He’s around 12 years old. Those around him appear oblivious to his presence. He looks small and alone. He might as well be invisible." I have not viewed the movie but as I read this one paragraph I saw myself and that is exactly how I felt at 11 years of age. Someday maybe I will work up the courage to get the movie.

Mark Cooper said...

Anonymous, Lee,... I have felt a lot of what you describe about not having resolution with my dad in my own life. I did not begin to face the real damage from my own dad's life until after he died. The final years of his life were the "best" we had - but still there was no true father son relationship.

At times I feel angry that I did not have the opportunity to face him with my anger and rage at the pain he caused.

There is no simple answer for the very valid and painful reality you express. Thank you for being vulnerable. Thank you for letting us hear just a bit of your pain and your journey.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the response, Mark. it means a lot. sometimes it feels like others have all the answers. i appreciate your admission that you don't either. i empathize with your pain and loss.

Lee