“Maybe my main purpose in life is to pass on those words to people who need them as much as I do, so that they can pass them along to others—and all of us can get on with offering our gifts to the world.”
From “On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old” by Parker J. Palmer.
When I reflect back on my own life the words that stand out the most in my mind are the ones that hurt me the most. As much as I would like to easily remember the good words that have given me life, it takes intention on my part to remember the good ones.
Intention for me looks like picking up my electronic device and entering in the words that come to my mind that acknowledge my pain. When I am able to pay attention to and honor the hurt that is crying out for my attention and write it down, then I am better able to recognize and write about the good.
Today, as I write this I feel hurt over the words I wrote recently that caused another person pain and confusion.
I never want to write words that bring another pain intentionally, but because hurt people hurt people inevitably it happens. Only acknowledging the hurt can stop this process.
I recently wrote here that I had completed a trauma recovery couching program and would be offering coaching to others who have experienced religious trauma and abuse. However, when I started to correspond with a couple of potential clients I realized coaching was not something that I needed to pursue at this time. Maybe I do not need to pursue it at all. I am sorry for any pain or confusion that this caused you if you were hoping to receive coaching from me.
As much as I would like to believe that I could be that coach who helps other’s discover how to set goals and move past their pain, I realize I am not that person. I realized reading others stories that I still have a lot of work to do around my own trauma as well.
It brings pain and disappointment to acknowledge this. But it also brings relief.
If the pastor who abused me had acknowledged that he had no business counseling me, I would not be dealing with the religious trauma I am today.
In some ways it feels like a failure in our American culture to start something and not finish; to not go for it, take risks, and do big things for God.
I have lived most of my life believing the lie that I am not good enough and need to do more and try harder to prove myself. I have learned that some of this comes from my core needs not being met as a child. I believe it also from our culture and even religious environments who tell us we always need to be doing more for Jesus.
When the reality is, who I am is good enough. I love the words of Mother Teresa who said if we wanted to make a real impact in the world that we needed to go home and love our family. Not everyone is a Mother Teresa. But everyone is who God created them to be, and who we are is enough.
Where our limitations begin, another person’s gifting can begin.
All of this to say, I am limited in my ability to help others with their trauma. I can only give what I have to give.
What I am able to offer to the world are words that have given me relief , in the hope that they will bring you relief as well.
What I am not able to offer is what I haven’t received myself.
I may not have succeeded in being a trauma recovery coach, but what I am is a mother, a wife, a friend, a neighbor, a writer, an administrative professional, and a fellow traveler and survivor of religious trauma. These things are enough. I am enough.
You are enough.