There's a scene in Thornton Wilder's play "The Angel that Troubled the Waters" which to me really captures the essence of the life and the spirituality of Rich Mullins. The scene is a doctor comes to the pool everyday wanting to be healed of his melancholy and his gloom and his sadness. Finally the angel appears. The doctor, he's a medical doctor, goes to step into the water. The angel blocks his entrance and says, "No, step back, the healing is not for you." The doctor pleads, "But I've got to get into the water. I can't live this way." The angel says, "No, this moment is not for you." And he says, "But how can I live this way?"
The angel says to him, "Doctor, without your wounds where would your power be? It is your melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children of this earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In love's service, only wounded soldiers can serve."
And to me the theme of that story is the theme to Rich Mullins' life. All grace, all light, all truth, all power are communicated though the vulnerability, the brokenness, the utter honesty of men and women who have been shipwrecked, heartbroken, broken on the wheels of living. In love's service, only wounded soldiers can serve. And to me, the power of Rich Mullins life lay in the power of his brokenness, the power in his unblinking honesty, his deeply moving sincerity and God, I miss him. But to my dying day I will boast and with honor will say that Rich Mullins was my friend.
--Brennan Manning (1934-2013) priest, author, speaker.