Those of you who will read this, know me in varying degrees. You may know, I struggle with what to share here. It all goes back to a friend and colleague announcing the title: "Wounded Healer" at my ordination. Another colleague bluntly said afterwards, "I see you as a wounded healer, just don't bleed all over everyone." I have learned, over the last half decade, the second colleague was correct. No one wants to look on the woundedness of the person lost in the muck of life. Humanity has the natural inclination to compartmentalize pain and suffering. Especially spiritual and mental pain. We know how to set broken bones, fight cancer, take on disease. Mental and spiritual illness? Not so much. Well, it's time for me to get honest. Don't worry. I'm not here to gush out my wounds. I had to work through them on my own time, and they are properly healing at this point.
My family and my life is full of spiritual and mental illness. My family suffers from depression, bi-polar disorder, and alcoholism just to name some of the issues. I used to carry the mental and physical abuse I suffered like some badge of honor. I would take it out every Summer Camp, and today, feel sorry for the fellow campers and counselors who had to suffer through my suffering. No one wants to deal with a wounded person.
Conversely, everyone wants to celebrate a person who made it through their woundedness. They don't realize, like A Beautiful Mind, the wounded carry their scars for the rest of their life, keeping their demons in check. A wounded person spends the rest of their life healing. As a wounded person, we understand that we need to conform to fit in. We get it. You just don't realize we might be holding back.
What many of y'all might not realize about me, are the fears that rolled across my psyche three years ago after I was let go by a church with a newborn in my arms. Someone callously remarked, "You'll bounce back from this." I knew he wasn't saying anything to make me feel better. He was trying to make himself feel better. If he believed I would bounce back, than the church really didn't damage me. I knew otherwise. I also knew, there was no way he could have personally known whether I would 'bounce back.' Only God knew the answer to that question. At the beginnings of this new piece of my life, I feared my family history would sneak in. Certain familial relations never bounced back from their personal events, not really. I also realized, no one could really help me. They wanted to offer prayer, and a pat on the back, but aside from some very specific circumstances, they kept their distance. I felt like I had the pox and my misfortune was contagious. The thought kept running through my head: Remember this time. Remember how you feel. Others feel this way too. Take this as a learning experience.
Since that time, I have bounced back, no thanks to the above mentioned man. I have also learned I am not alone. It almost hurts more to know others have been spiritually hurt by the institution of church, than being hurt by it myself. As hurt as I was, I felt an enlightenment of sorts through the whole experience. I can be divorced from contracts, people and groups (as a side note, still happily married to my husband), but I am forever an adopted child of God. This adoption was first made clear to me as I rose up out of the baptismal waters at 8 years old. It was clarified through the recent fires of adversity. I can say now, God was always there and always will be there.
I say this, because real adversity leaves very specific roads one can travel.
Either one can buy into the physical world and the limitations it brings: I could have seen God's call to ministry in my life destroyed. I could have fallen into depression. I could have become complacent and gave up. I was socially awkward as a teen, as I was dealing with my brokenness in unhealthy ways. I could accept that people would forever see me as a broken teenager instead of a healing adult.
Instead, I immersed myself in the spiritual world and it's possibilities. I was a beloved child of God, accepted into the family through divine adoption. My potential is the potential God gives me, filled with possibility. I discovered, because of this path, I showed compassion over anger. Showing compassion over anger actually brought me closer to the physical world. I can, with the help of God, accept my call as a wounded healer.