Friday, June 30, 2006

The Wounded Healer

A few posts back, I was talking about my frustration at this whole process and how I was questioning whether to continue as a pastor or not. An anonymous comment stated,
Until you have your life figured out, you have no right to guide others
I had to think about that.

I can see how some may think that, but I would have to disagree.

Do any of us really have our lives figured out? We may think that we have our lives figured out, but isn't that just an illusion? I may have every detail planned, but we can never take into account how others will react.

I would so love to have people react well to my leaving. I would love for people to take a look at the situation and use it as a means of deepening their understanding of homosexuality, prejudice, and hate. Unfortunately, I know that some people will just jump to easy conclusions and not do the work of trying to understand. That is what makes me sad. I am sad that what I feel to be a good thing, me coming to a deeper understanding of who I am as a person, should be the catalyst for some pretty uncomfortable situations.

But what is also sad is that my homosexuality should even be a problem. If anything, my finally coming to an understanding of my sexuality has made me a better pastor. I now have an understanding of how we search to find wholeness and have an understanding of how to help others search for wholeness. Why this should be a problem is beyond me.

But back to the comment that I should have my life in order before I try to guide others, well, that is just silly. Look at self-help groups. Here are a group of people who are struggling with various problems helping each other. Alcoholics never refer to themselves as cured, they are always recovering. And yet, these people who do not have their lives in order are able to help others get their lives in order.

I am not trying to attack the person who made the comment, but I feel that the comment exemplifies part of the problems I see in our world: we are so caught up in results that unless we can guarantee total success, we do not want to participate. Unless my life is totally organized, I should not try to help others. I find that frame of reference to be very sad.

I say, all that we have is God and each other. And as far as I can tell, God is working through our world through each other. Since we are imperfect people, we either do nothing until we become prefect (read never) or we try our best, realizing that it will never be perfect.

As for me, I may be wounded, but I am not dead. I will still try to help people knowing that God can take my flawed efforts and turn them into something wonderful.


Lynette said...

What a wonderful post. As one of those recovering alcoholics, 23 years sober, I have still been able to help others find sobriety by sharing my sober-but-imperfect life.

As a social worker, I found it critical to have worked through my childhood "stuff," before working with children and families. The greater tendency seemed to be for folks to want to practice social work and work out their issues with those they were there to serve. That was ultimately damaging to the children and families under their care. That doesn't make me superior, simply aware. Working toward greater insight into my own life, behavior, decisions didn't make me perfect ~ it just gave me insight and awareness and allowed me to find the line between my self and others.

I think the only real move to emotional/mental health and wholeness is being aware of who we are, aware of our failings, aware of our "stuff" and how that may impact our relationships and interactions with others.

As you said, coming to an understanding is key. I don't think life is ever fully "figured out." Life changes as I change as those around me change, and how fortunate.

Thank you for this . . . I'll be back to visit you.

Anonymous said...

Amen, brother, amen!

As far as I last recalled, churches aren't houses of the holy, but hospitals for the broken. Pastors are just as human as the folks in the pews, we're just expected (unrightly, I think) not to be. I think being human and vulnerable makes us better servants. If I don't know the struggle, how can I really be present?

God bless you and keep you, and make your paths safe to walk and your burdens light.