I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Touching Wounds

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. —Henri Nouwen

Jillian Jensen’s audition on the season premier of the X Factor USA on Wednesday was memorable for so many reasons. She was bullied in middle school and she carried the pain with her as she walked on stage. If you have twelve minutes, here is what happened:

Jensen chose the song “Who You Are” by Jessie J. The lyrics, and the way she delivered them, are haunting when you know her story (more on that in a minute):
I stare at my reflection in the mirror:
“Why am I doing this to myself?”
Losing my mind on a tiny error,
I nearly left the real me on the shelf.
No, no, no, no, no...

Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars!
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,
It’s okay not to be okay.
Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart.
Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising,
Just be true to who you are!
I did a little digging to find out the story behind the bullying Jillian endured. I found a website she started called Overcoming Bullying on which she shares her story about her first day in middle school when a classmate tried to sell her drugs and she turned him in. She was no longer known as Jillian. Instead they called her snitch.

She says other rumors, which were not true, spread throughout the school. She began crying herself to sleep every night while attempting to hide her torment from her parents. She was embarrassed and didn’t know what to do. “How I wish that I would’ve had someone like myself to talk to about everything that KNEW exactly how I felt,” she says on her website.

The bullying led to her “hurting herself.” Cutting, probably. Words and music were her only true refuge. But as you watched her X Factor audition, you got the feeling her refuge had not led to healing. It protected her, allowed her to survive and gave her a safe place to create. But she still needed someone to touch her wounds with a warm and tender hand.

The audience did that when they made the heart symbol with their hands and swayed back and forth to her song. Demi Lovato did that when she left her judge’s chair and embraced Jillian onstage. The other judges did that by the compassion they showed her.

And the power of the human touch began its healing work.

“I feel like I can just push away those ... those ... those terrible things and really just go on and do what I want to do, and really be happy and not think about it anymore,” Jillian said after the audition.

Maybe if we stopped trying to offer so much advice, solutions and cures, and instead touched more wounds, as Nouwen suggests, we could see real healing


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