So for the last 3 weeks I’ve been heading up a small group of men and we’re going through the Wild at Heart DVD series. It’s a structured way to get fellows who aren’t familiar with the book to get introduced to the concepts and start talking about it. In a way, it’s a mini-bootcamp on more comfortable ground like somebody’s house or church.
Anyway, this week’s topic: The Wound.
In W@H-Speak, The Wound is essentially a denial of our Question. For men, the Question is “Do I have what it takes?” and The Wound is something, or a pattern of things, that says - “No. You don’t.”
While we usually talk about “The Wound” as if it’s a singular thing, but we find out over time that in fact we take many wounds in life, some bigger and more traumatic than others. The first wound we might identify through this process may only be the most obvious, or the most recent. These wounds are important to identify because they can shape us in ways that we are unaware of. But without getting into the whole wound thing here, allow me to just say that this has been a very important theme for me in this trip, particularly the wound that said “To be yourself will mean hurting the people you love.” Exploring the contours of that wound and its effect on my life has been really quite revealing but I also felt like I had a handle on the whole thing.
Flashback to a couple of weeks ago. I was having a discussion with a young woman on the same topic – the wound. In her youth she had had an abortion and we were looking at things in her life that had wounded her, but the abortion seemed conspicuously absent from her list of formative events. “Here is arguably the single most morally weighty event in your entire life. Since then you’ve heard people indirectly (it’s a secret) call you a monster, heartless, and a murderer. And yet in a discussion about emotionally and psychologically charged events in your past, this doesn’t even make the top 20. Does that seem odd to you?”
Flash forward to our W@H group. The cute little “facilitators guide” says that I should read the following:
“For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up...ahhh shit.” - Psalm 27:10 (NAS/Vulgarian)
As soon as I read the verse I knew what was coming down the pipe and I wasn’t entirely happy about it. Luckily the guys in the group weren’t totally thrown by my extemporaneous commentary, ahem.
For anybody who doesn’t know, I was adopted when I was just a wee nugget. In fact the whole thing was arranged and notarized before I was even born. As soon as I was old enough to understand, my adoptive folks told me all about it. There was no shocking discovery of the papers one day or anything like that. I’ve known I was adopted for as long as I can remember and I has never mattered at all to me. Not one bit. Though my father and mother have forsaken me...but in a discussion about emotionally and psychologically charged events in my past, this doesn’t even make the top 20. Does that seem odd to you?
The truth is, I don’t know where this will go. I still don’t have any particularly defined feelings on the matter one way or the other, but I’m pretty sure that’s where Jesus and I will be traveling soon. I don’t know if this is a little firecracker land-mine or that kind of totally repressed, poison the well, subsurface hydrogen bomb kind of thing. And I guess it’s OK with me either way. Jesus has got me this far and he’ll be with me for this trip as well. I trust him. If that’s where he says we go next – I’m going.
The way W@H suggests we approach these wounds is this: over time God will cause certain events to jar our memory of a wound. A bad day at work might remind of that time your dad said you were worthless for example. We pay attention to our hearts and when we see it reacting to a circumstance or an event that seems disproportionate, we want to look under the hood. Why is this movie making we cry? Why did I snap at that waitress? When we suspect that God is rocking our boat, the trick is to accept it as an invitation.
“Dear Lord – so you want to talk about that? OK. Come on in and let’s see what happens.”
It’s here that Christ can heal these wounds...when we let him.
So I’ve done the RSVP thing here and I’m waiting to see what happens next. I suspect I’ll eventually talk about it all here but that will likely be a while. It seems these wounds need time to digest – time to process. But I ‘preciate the prayers of you folks who read this. We’re in for a bumpy ride.