I stood at the bulkhead of a darkened plane, stretching my legs after too many hours of travel. I looked at the faces before me. Midway down the isle a man stared with eyes not seeing, his face bearing witness to a raw haunting within. I turned away, embarrassed that I had happened upon a bared soul without permission.
I moved my eyes onto the others flying with me in that night sky and I knew. I knew this man was not alone. Each one nursed a wound. Some wounds, like the man’s down the isle, were still open and bleeding. Others wore scars of battles past. Each one was wounded. Including me.
I have wounds of which I speak in a small voice to few people – sisters, my husband who knows everything to know about me, a few others I trust. My husband, who is now a pastor but once was a soldier, holds me in the dark and loves me in the light. He is still soldier-strong and with a severity I have to sometimes hold back, he protects me. These wounds of mine are easier to bear because God heals me through the gifts of these people. And as I receive, I gently give. Or perhaps I receive these gifts because I give.
Looking over the faces in the plane, I prayed for those souls flying with me in the night. I prayed that the great paradox of God’s kingdom would be released in their life.
I prayed that each one would be kind. I prayed that the love Jesus brought into this broken earth, the grace Jesus gave with his broken body, the forgiveness Jesus has for each broken person would become known to them. I prayed that they would look with gentle eyes upon someone near to them. I prayed that they would have arms that hold someone close in the dark hours and they would have hands that softly touch the tender spots in others.
We are all gifts that Christ offers to others.
We are vessels of the divine, containers of his love, bearers of the sacred.
We can be people who walk away from the brokenness in others – we are allowed to do that. Or, we can be people who stay.
When we stay, when we walk toward the hurt in others, when we offer our scarred hands to gently hold the wounds of another, it is right there, in that sacred place of giving and staying that the paradox of God’s kingdom is released – we receive and we are not left alone.
Would you intentionally be a vessel of the divine, a container of his love, a bearer of the sacred? Would you be a gift that Christ offers to another?