Seven years ago this month, I attempted to answer the question, “Why do I do what I do?” The result was a blog post that I frequently revisit, and every few years I revisit the question, too.
When I went to college, I planned to become a physician. I attended a conference at Harvard Medical School for recent high school graduates entering pre-med studies, where all of us participants held a human heart. Though I never learned the physical intricacies of the heart, I became a student of the spiritual vulnerabilities of the soul.
Poet David Whyte recently reminded listeners at a gathering hosted by the project, On Being, that vulnerability is not a weakness, something to be avoided. He returned to the Latin origin of the word, vulneras, which means “wound.” And he suggested that vulnerability is a way of better understanding ourselves and the world, so we might meet one another in pain.
We cannot avoid our vulnerabilities, no matter how hard we try. We can hide our wounds, but they will only begin to heal when we are willing to share them with trusted ones who will help make them whole again.
In my heart of hearts, I still do what I do because I am a healer.
I am not The Healer.
I cannot cure illnesses or perform operations or offer diagnoses.
My work is not with the human body but in the body of Christ.
My calling is to minister to the wounds of a broken world, to risk vulnerability, to hold the heart.
When I held the human heart, I was terrified of dropping it. I was afraid of causing it harm. I knew that I held something sacred and delicate. What I so easily overlooked that day because of the awe and terror was that the heart I held was perfect. It was whole. It was “unbroken.” Such is the heart that God wants to put into his people, not of stone but of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).
The hearts I hold are sometimes clogged, sometimes diseased, from life’s letdowns. I cannot remove the breaks that loving brings to our hearts, but I can hold them. Sometimes healing simply means holding one another before the Lord in our vulnerable, weak, and wounded states. To heal is to hold, and to hold is to be held by Jesus.
Why do you do what you do?
Why do you still do what you do?
May we all be vulnerable enough to answer the call of Calvary’s wounded heart: for we all are a part of what he has made whole again.
all good things to each of you,