The Cut that Heals

healings-hands-heart By Marie FinneganIn the Ben Yehuda Street pedestrian mall, on a sunny, breezy, Jerusalem afternoon, I saw a young woman wearing a deep blue shoulderless top reading an Israel guide book. She had dark hair, a lovely face with high cheekbones and eyes that matched her blouse. Her arms – from wrist to mid-bicep, all around – were covered with scars. She appeared to be a cutter, wearing openly the marks of her pain. She laughed with a friend as they planned their next adventure. The pain she made manifest on her body seemed completely absent in her manner. I left with the vision of a lovely woman barely in her 20’s, who had been through some sort of hell, enjoying a beautiful day. This is what I wrote.

The Cut that Heals
What if I opened my heart
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation?
Would I overflow with
Joy with beauty with love?

Yes, my child,
You would overflow
With radiance and splendor,
With wonder and thanksgiving.

What if I opened my eyes
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation?
Would I overflow with
Grief with loss with desolation?

No, my child,
You would overflow
With kindness and grace,
With awe and compassion.

What if I opened my hands
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation?
Would I drown in the work of repairing the world
In the depths of need and despair?

No, my child,
You would rise up
With strength and wisdom
A well of mercy,
A beacon of light at the gates of healing.

Soul of the Universe,
I put my trust in You.
Open my heart and my eyes,
Open my hands and my life,
To the fullness of glory
And the mystery of creation,
Fully, completely,
Without fear or hesitation.
Lead me on the path of service
To Your Word and Your world.

Remember this, dear ones:
Love and loss are the same gift.
Grief and joy the same cloth.
Faith and doubt the same path.
The cut that wounds
Is the cut that heals.
When you rise up, renewed,
Tears and laughter will
Meet in the core of your being.
Grace and mercy will flow through you like water.
You will be a fountain of blessings,
A source of righteousness and charity,
And you will sing humble praises
To G-d’s holy name.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here is “Cutting, Prayer to End Self-Mutilation” and a prayer called “Witnessing: A Meditation.”

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Photo Credit: Healing Hands, Healing Heart by Marie Finnegan on Metta Refuge

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“Alden has become one of Reform Judaism’s master poet-liturgists…" - Religion News Service, Dec. 23, 2020

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