My originating family is a species unto themselves. My parents were both giant personalities with massive childhood wounds, and their lives were a redemption of those wounds in the most extraordinary selfless service to the God of their own understandings. How they were wounded is of no account being just a variation on the countless ways life and the relationships closest to us wound us all.

Instead of asking why – it is more beneficial to seek the gifts hidden in such wounding. Many of us seek to escape the entropy of our wounds by becoming cunning in the technologies and strategies of flight from pain. We become addicted to all sorts of things, some good for us but most not. And we later wonder why we still suffer?

Escape is not possible, no matter what we do. That is the first gift.

When we accept that we cannot flee from pain – we dig deeper and learn how to face it by embracing it, not to hold on, but to give it space to breathe. As Robert Augustus Masters says in “Divine Dynamite”:

“Homeward bound are they who, already brokenhearted, neither flee nor indulge their pain, for their woundedness, their lucid vulnerability, the Real obviously pulses. Homeward bound are they who, wronged or hurt do not invest in righteousness or revenge, for in their openness, their willingness to fully forgive, they who resonate with What-Really-Matters. Homeward bound are they who, ripened beyond conceit, are not trying to be anywhere other than where they are, for they are not only standing their ground, but are it.”

So the wounds we have received from our familial origins can allow us to grow more deeply in our compassionate humanity, compassion both for the pain we have borne and the pain others reflect back to us. They can also create an inescapable spiritual crucible within which we learn to face that which we most dislike in ourselves, and judge others guilty of. Masters continues:

“At the heart of that hurt… is not more hurt, but a love which cannot help but forgive. This love is self-radiant, naturally ego-transcending, at once innocent and wise. It forgives us our trespasses, our forgettings of the Sacred, our stupidities, large and small, and it does so instantaneously. It does not make a problem out of our mistakes. In fact, when we allow ourselves to house – and ultimately be – such love, we do not see errors, but only incarnation’s fleshdance in sacred transparency.”

All our struggles to accept who we are in all our woundedness and brokenness are resolved in the final surrender to that which gives all life, which breathes us into being each day. It is from this Life we came, in which we live each moment and into which we return when we release this mortal form. Our “family” is revealed at last to be all of Life’s expressions beyond judgment or preference. Life equally our mother, father, wife, brother, husband, sister, child, friend, beloved, no strangers possible anywhere.


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