How to live with goats in the rearview mirror

Goat Island on the Catawba River

I start my commute to the Catholic Conference Center by driving alongside the Catawba River. One morning, I happened to look in the rear-view mirror. Much to my delight, I saw the pink sun rising in the east over the water. Much to my surprise, I saw goats gazing at me from the riverbank. I couldn’t resist pulling over, interacting with the goats, and snapping a few photos. 

While driving into work these past couple of weeks, I’ve been listening to a powerful book on spiritual and emotional healing called Be Healed: A Guide to Encountering the Powerful Love of Jesus in Your Life. It’s written by Bob Schuchts, a therapist and the founder of the John Paul II Healing Center.  He firmly believes that healing our wounds of the present begins by healing the wounds of the past. 

Juxtaposing the image of the goats in my rearview mirror and the healing message in the book, I realized that wounds of my past are like the goats. While driving, I’m not in the habit of fixing my gaze in the rearview mirror. I am much more focused on the oncoming traffic. Likewise in life, I am not in the habit of looking at the wounds of my past. I’d rather be looking to what’s ahead.

Yet when I do take some time to reflect upon these ‘goats’, especially in the healing light of the Lord, the narrative of my life shifts. As described in Be Healed, I am able to see how these wounds have grown into identity lies about myself, false judgments about others, and the self-vows spawned by this woundedness. The inner narrative borne from these wounds of the past prevents me from flourishing in the present.

The beautiful part is that once identified, the ‘goats’ become part of a larger, more stunning landscape of my life. Just like the photo, a new morning sun rises to bring color to the sky above and shimmering light to the water below. And included in this healing image stand a few dazed goats wondering what just happened!   

I’d highly recommend the book for spiritual and emotional healing, especially if you have a few goats in your rearview mirror.