Healing: A Transition to Whole

My husband bought me a favorite Carl Bloch print for my birthday last year. It’s a giclée on canvas—mounted, but not framed. I propped it on the back of the piano until we bought a frame and decided where to hang it. Six months it waited there, unframed, until I moved it to the top of a bookshelf near where I eventually wanted to hang it. Another three months passed, and I moved it to a closet to make room for Christmas decorations.

My giclee copy of Carl Bloch's painting Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesda

Now that the decorations are down, I still don’t have a frame. The wall where I intend to hang it holds other artwork destined for a wall in my husband’s office, which isn’t ready yet.  I’m waiting. Today, I thought of that painting—Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesda by Carl Bloch. I needed to unwrap the painting and put it up somewhere, anywhere, even if it is still a transition place like a simple IKEA easel.

I’m healing from a minor surgery last week, and like the painting without a home, I’m waiting through the healing process.  When I suffer physically—and probably in other ways, too—I feel like the certain man at the pool of Bethesda, under a cover that needs lifting.

This time, my cover feels like a cloud covering my normal life and disconnecting me from the people in that existence. They surround me and reach out, but I can’t reach back as well I want.

In the past half year I’ve stood beside a friend overcoming a crises and a husband recovering from an accident, but I helplessly wonder what more can I offer?  Now that I am the one needing aid, I understand why it is hard to grasp the help that is extended.

Gratefully, my healing comes hour by hour not month by month. And in my short path, I’m being carried closer with empathy toward those still in the transition of healing. Someday, I hope they will be whole, but until then, I might offer my easel.

An answer to My Daily Question: Have I Seen the Hand of God Reaching Out Touch Us Today?


  1. Ryan
    Jan 29, 2009

    I saw this painting a couple times at the BYU museum of art–I love it. It’s a big picture, making it feel like you are there.

    I really liked this post… can’t think of much more to say than that. My wife wants me to tell you that she enjoyed it too.

  2. This is a great way to look at your healing time–learning more patience toward yourself and more empathy toward others.

    I recently renewed and deepened a friendship with someone because I was given an opportunity to “be in her shoes.” A few years ago, when I was going through a spiritual crisis, this friend, S, tried very hard to reach out to me. I shut her out, and we grew apart. Then, a year ago, I had a very similar experience with another friend, but this time I was the one trying to reach out, and being shut out. I suddenly knew how S had felt–how helpless and frustrated and sad. I immediately arranged to have lunch with S so we could connect over these shared experiences.

    Thanks for this post.

  3. TJ
    Jan 29, 2009

    Ryan: I remember with fondness the day I first saw this painting at BYU. I sat on the bench in front of it and just didn’t want to move. It’s size, like you mention is humbling and adds to the impression it gives.

    Kristen: Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Isn’t it interesting how our experiences and our relationships lead us to learning, even when at times when we are sick–physically or otherwise? Your example shows how your connections with friends grew as a result.

  4. Michelle L.
    Jan 29, 2009

    I ADORE this painting. Carl Bloch is a favorite of mine and I think this is his best. Isn’t the original breathtaking?

  5. An Ordinary Mom
    Jan 30, 2009

    Minor surgery? I am so sorry! I hope you are continuing to heal well. Is everything going to be OK … long term?

    This painting took on a whole new meaning for me when I came better acquainted with the story it represents. One of these days, when and if I am ever in Provo again, I would love to see it in the museum.

    Sending happy thoughts your way!

  6. Betsy Faerber
    Feb 4, 2009


    I enjoyed browsing through your website today. I particularly enjoyed this post. I love this painting. It points to the source of true healing for all of us. I hope you are continuing to heal from your surgery. I love who you are. I hope to see you this coming Sunday in Brainerd.

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