Pilgrims have important things to say about how guides and companions respond to their experiences, especially their experiences of deep wounding. This is highlighted in the images and comments on this page.
Maintaining threads of integrity
If you notice me hiding behind a wall, can you respect that my suffering, my despair and my anguish has become too heavy to bear. My utterances may sound strange and even hostile. I may lapse into total silence when words themselves become dangerous. Refrain from directly confronting my fragile defenses or from hammering away at my illusions.
Rather, fold the wings of your mind so it can descend into your heart. Gaze obliquely rather than directly just as you might in fathoming a dream. With the ear of your heart extended you might notice my desperate attempts to hold together my fragmented self, and to maintain the remaining threads of my integrity.
Cry of a wounded heart
At times the deep cry from my fragile and wounded heart finds stirs my darkest emotions and reverberates with deafening intensity at the edges of my conscious awareness. When the intensity of this pain, suffering and isolation reaches its crescendo, I often find refuge in illusion. Here you encounter me at my most vulnerable, indeed the most susceptible point for any human person, save the moment at which we meet our death. Know that in such an encounter I am in desperate need of a Shepherd.
Is there one who knows my name and can gently hold the essence of who I am? Is there one who will continue to search for me, gently lift me, and carry me to a safe and protected fold? Please do not send the hired help!
I found clarity when the voice of my guide resonated within. But then you started with your questions and your doubts, fabricating your objections and even mimicking the voices of those who had offered their contrary opinions. Who do you speak for? I sure your loudest insistences are those of fear. Other times you wait until I have expressed a deep desire and you insert your, “but”!
If I give you too much space I quickly become entangled in contradictory thoughts, mixed emotions, and self-protective gestures. But, as you paused and I found greater solitude as my worried mind descends into my heart, I realize there is still more of me to surrender to the freeing embrace and inner guiding voice of the Spirit of God.
A pilgrim’s gift
At the beginning of my time of prayer and reflection there was much from my morning session with the pilgrim which hovered at the edge of my consciousness, waiting for time and space to settle, reveal of its treasures, and to be brought into dialogue with my guide, Jesus. The Psalm I had just read spoke of God’s desire to teach us wisdom and to find truth in the depths of our soul (Ps 51:6). This resonated with the journey the pilgrim and I had taken earlier that day.
I was amazed by how the Spirit of God had been manifest throughout this encounter, intertwining with the pilgrim's spirit to bring about transformation deep within his soul. I felt awe at how the Spirit had entered his stories, metaphors, and emotions, awakened him to the truth of his wounding, and offered him greater interior freedom.