The Christophers: The Way of the Wounded Healer
Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M.,
The Christophers’ Board of Directors
When actress Nikki DeLoach initially read the script for her Hallmark movie “The Gift of Peace,” she didn’t realize it would be the exact project she needed to help her deal with the recent painful loss of her father to dementia.
Nikki’s father died in July 2021 at age 66. During an interview, she told me, ”We knew it was going to happen, but you’re just never prepared for the loss of someone you love so much. And much like Tracy, my [widowed] character in ‘The Gift of Peace,’ I was coming into this movie very stuck in my life. I was…getting everything done, but there was no joy. There was just a deep sadness and heartbreak that was layered over everything.”
In the movie, Nikki’s character Tracy resents God because she prayed for her husband’s healing and absolutely believed it was going to happen. But he died anyway. Hallmark movies don’t usually deal so overtly with matters of faith, but this production handled the matter honestly and well.
As a person of deep faith herself, Nikki was the perfect person to star in this movie. She noted, “One thing we touch upon in the movie is that commentary of, why did God do this to me? Why did God take him? [The truth is], God doesn’t take anyone or anything from us. That’s not how God works…But what God offers is a way to get back to the joy, the peace, the love, to hope. That is what God offers inside of the pain, inside of the grief.”
That’s exactly what happened to Nikki: “Life imitated art, and something opened up inside of me. I started to find the joy in my life again.”
In the movie, Tracy begins to find healing after she connects with a grief support group in her church. In essence, the members all help each other carry their pain, making it easier to bear because of the shared burden. This ties into one of Nikki’s core beliefs about how we can all be wounded healers.
Nikki also did her best to serve as a wounded healer on a personal level to her co-star Brennan Elliott, whose wife is enduring a difficult cancer battle. She noted that everyone’s heart has been broken at times—and if it hasn’t been yet, it will be someday. Though these cracks in our hearts can’t be fully healed, they can become stronger in the broken places.
“The transformation happens in allowing God to emanate through the cracks,” explained Nikki. “Because when that light comes through the cracks and all of the broken places, that’s where you’re able to begin to be a healer. I don’t mean that you will one day wake up and not feel the pain…What I mean by that is that you get to be there for other people. You [develop] empathy and compassion and a humanity that you never had before. It allows you to sit with other people and see them when they’re in pain. And it allows you to be merciful with your own pain and what you are going through. We’re all on the road to healing. We’re all trying to find a way to…get rid of [our pain]. But what we need to pivot to is to learn how to carry it. I think the road of the wounded healer helps you to understand that is a beautiful thing. That’s not a terrible thing. It’s a beautiful road to walk.”
For free copies of the Christopher News Note BECOMING A WOUNDED HEALER, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org