Still scared

I was reading the Thursday Gospel. Jesus, the risen Jesus, appears again to people. And once again, He steps up to the plate to reassure them in their fear that they are seeing a ghost by having them inspect His hands and feet and by eating with them.

I am often frightened when it comes time to inspect my own hurts. Doing that might unleash a wellspring of anger and pain that I would just as soon let sleep. But, until I take the step to try to do that, they cannot really be transformed – or, dare I say resurrected, as something new.  Years ago, when I was sinking into a deep, muddy place in life, I read Thomas More’s “Care of the Soul.” The imagery there was that of shining a light into the dark corners. The result of allowing the light to shine into these dark corners is that the monsters that are uncovered are not nearly so scary. It seems that the acceptance of their existence removes some of their power to reduce me to a frightened child hiding in another dark corner. But, I also see that looking at them in the light can transform them into something new – something unexpected. I’ll only go into those dark corners with a reassuring light that can allow me to accept what I find and possibly transform it into something new.

When I don’t want to look in the dark places it helps to look back at past experiences with this phenomenon. Having passed through depression, I have been granted some understanding and compassion for others who find themselves in this spot. Not that I would choose to go through it, but since I have it is good to know that the experience can be used in some way to help another through such a bad time.

Which brings me back to the original image in this gospel: If Jesus can allow others to inspect His wounds and use that to reassure them, to help them not be afraid, am I not also called to do the same?

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