Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Nature's healing

Maybe you have heard, as I have, that starfish are remarkable creatures, and that if one is cut into pieces, each piece will grow a whole new starfish. There is science to support that (as long as each piece has some of the central disk attached), according to Google. I was lucky enough to come across this resilient starfish during a recent walk on the beach. He had clearly lost an arm at some point, and according to what I read, it can take up to a year to generate a new one. But this little guy had done it! A brand new arm, almost as long as the others, bore witness to his healing. And somewhere out in the ocean, there may be a whole new starfish grown from that missing limb. It made me reflect on my own brokenness, and the good it can do. Priest and author Henri Nouwen encouraged people to come face to face with their own damaged nature in his book, The Wounded Healer. "Our wounds," he wrote, "allow us to enter into a deep solidarity with our wounded brothers and sisters." We all have scars, some easier to hide than others. But when we stop trying to hide them, and embrace them as an important part of who we are, then amazing new things can result.

There’s nothing quite like a summer thunderstorm. I cracked my bedroom window the other night, even though the AC was on, just to hear the rain fall. I half woke in the middle of the night, the pattering intensifying, the night pitch dark, and it felt as if my bed floated on a cloud, my dreams drifting with the rain. I was a young girl again, and the night seemed endless, the morning free of appointments or obligations. I don’t know how rain has the power to do this, to unhinge me so, dissolve me into a mist, but it does. Rain, unless in a flooded downtown Charleston, makes me inordinately happy. I read the Mary Oliver poem "Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me" and thought, ah, another person whom rain makes crazy happy. Here’s the first part of her poem:

Last night
the rain 
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.”

What a lovely image - rain vanishing like a dream of the ocean, soaking roots, renourishing life.

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