Sunday, 17 February 2008


A young man, 24 years old, had one of his legs amputated at the hip in order to save his life from bone cancer. He was very angry and bitter. It seemed to him that life was terribly unfair that he had to suffer such a loss so early in his life. His grief and rage were so great it took several years of continuous work for healing to occur; healing, not only of his body, but also his broken heart and wounded spirit. He worked hard, using many methods including art therapy. When he first started drawing, he made a crayon sketch of his own body in the form of a vase with a deep black crack running through it. He redrew the crack over and over again, grinding his teeth with rage.

As he slowly healed, he developed a profound compassion for others in similar situations and he began to visit others in the hospital, who had also suffered severe physical losses. Once he met a young singer who was very depressed over the loss of her breasts. She wouldn’t even look up when he came in. He visited her regularly. One day the young man came in and the radio was on. It was a hot day and he was wearing shorts. Desperate to get her attention, he unstrapped his artificial leg and began dancing round on his one leg, snapping his fingers. The girl looked at him in amazement and then burst out laughing and said, “Man, if you can dance, I can sing.”

Several years later, the young man was looking over his early pictures. He picked up the vase, ran his fingers over the crack, picked up a yellow crayon and drew light streaming through the crack into the body of the vase. He turned to his aide and said; “Our hearts can grow strong at the broken places.”

Our sorrows can heal, allowing us to grow into our fullest, most compassionate identity. When we truly come to terms with sorrow, a great unshakeable joy is born in our heart.

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