The Gospel According to The Lord of the Rings: Week 16, Wounded Healers

Frodo is wounded on Weathertop, and there begins a race to Rivendell to save his life.

Though Frodo escapes the Riders--barely--this wound will prove momentous for the story. The wound never really heals. Frodo is never quite himself from here on out, he's sadder and more reflective, older.

Wounds are like that. They linger and change us. It's too early to jump to the very end of the story to speak about wounds and eschatological healing, but we can today reflect on wounds in the Christian story. We think of Israel's limp after wrestling with God. And, of course, we think of the wounds on the body of Jesus after his resurrection. Paul carries "a thorn in the flesh," not a wound, but a persistent ailment.

One of the great modern theological reflections upon woundedness is Henri Nouwen's The Wounded Healer. Nouwen writes:
Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?” When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.
Perhaps paradoxically, our wounds confer upon us gifts of healing--empathy, compassion, wisdom, insight. This is the great insight of the recovery community. Those who have "been there" tend to be of the greatest help. Those who have been wounded have a capacity to heal.

There's something deeply Christian and Christological about all this, the wounded healer and savior. And that's what we find in Frodo.

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