Nouwen Then: Suffering Toward Joy
My own experience with anguish has been that facing it and living it through is the way to healing. But I cannot do that on my own. I need someone to keep me standing in it, to assure me that there is peace beyond the anguish, life beyond the death, and love beyond the fear. But I know now, at least, that attempting to avoid, repress, or escape the pain is like cutting off a limb that could be healed with proper attention.
The deep truth is that our human suffering need not be an obstacle to the joy and peace we so desire, but can become, instead, the means to it. The great secret of the spiritual life, the life of the Beloved Sons and Daughters of God, is that everything we live, bit gladness or sadness, joy or pain, health or illness, can all be part of the journey toward the full realization of our humanity. Real care means the willingness to help each other in making our brokenness into the gateway to joy.
Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved, from the chapter called "Broken"