I hear your call: the invitation. Your call is insistent, almost irresistible…
and yet I hesitate,
I see your outstretched hand, and I want to…
It’s just that I’m afraid and
hence the air of bravado, the gregariousness
that I despise in others: the stupid sham.
But I put it on anyway, even in layers.
I pretend to believe that it covers me,
covers the bruises left by emotional abuse;
the scars left by rejection.
I smile the smile that has dazzled hundreds, laying it on thick,
surprised and dismayed that it never fails to fool the rest. Aye, the fools!
The heartless fools. But you were never deceived.
I wink the wink that has smitten them in droves,
pucker and pout and raise and eyebrow: make a suggestion
that leaves them thinking they thought of it
and baby somebody’s gonna get hurt, but I’ll make sure it’s not me.
Oh, God! They don’t SEE…
But I know you see. With loving eyes
you penetrate the disguise
removing each layer (OW! Could you be more gentle?!) as I wince in pain
embarrassed and ashamed.
You don’t blanch at the ugliness, the stench of ill-treated sores.
You dress my wounds, bathing them in your tears (of joy?)
It is for this that you have called to me!
And now I recognize you for the Wounded Healer that you are.
I want you for my own!
…But you have others to attend to…
2007. Dedicated to Henry J. Nouwen, author of “The Wounded Healer.”