Ten Words That Describe Me
For a class recently I had to go on social media and ask my friends what words they would use to describe me. I was pleasantly surprised that 68 people responded, and the ten words that surfaced the most were: authentic/real, passionate, hilarious, loving, wise, insightful, thoughtful, empathetic, intuitive, and sincere. I’d say these are pretty accurate, it’s what I’ve heard about myself all my life.
Wanting None to Suffer
In fifth grade I switched school districts, and endured constant bullying over the next five years. I remember one morning in middle school being on the bus, and one of the kids my age saying, “I can’t wait until we’re seniors so we can be the ones bullying everybody else.” I was too timid at the time to say it but I remember thinking, “Or we can become seniors and remember how awful it felt being bullied, and make sure that never happens to anyone else.” That’s just how I’ve always been wired, somehow knowing from the earliest age the deep truth in the words of Father Richard Rohr, “You must transform your pain, or you will surely transmit it.”
Helping people with their pain has been my gift, my calling, and my privilege.
Everybody has pain. And how a person handles their pain is largely what makes them who they are. Some ignore it. Some grow really needy and want others to rescue/heal/fix them. Some become addicted. Some minimize it and blow it off by saying, “I just gave it to God, so I’m good now.” But a courageous few admit it, allow it to teach them and make them better, and get down to business and do the work. I’ve always tried to be that kind of person, and for 28 years as a pastor and counselor I have found that helping other people transform their pain, heal from it, make their mess their message, has been my gift, my calling, and my privilege.