On Being Wounded

Made for Mission by Tim Glemkowski

As I continue to read through Made for Mission, I am struck by a small section in the middle of Chapter 6: Win, Build, Send. It’s the last little bit of Part II: Build as outlined by Tim Glemkowski.

The section is titled Healing and Freedom.

It’s quite common to remark either or both of the following: “We live in a broken world” and “Hurt people hurt people.” I’ve said both of those, sometimes in the same breath. They are two realities of mental health and spirituality.

We are not perfect people living in a perfect world. Someday we’re hoping to be – that’s what Heaven will be like. It’s what the Garden of Eden might have been like. Either way, neither of those are our realities today.

This section struck me because we all too often forget that we aren’t the only ones hurting, we aren’t the only ones with wounds. Tim begins this section with a quote from his grandfather, “Treat everyone you meet as if they had a broken heart, because in most cases they do.” He used this as a principal tenant of his business life … but it is even more true in parish ministry.

In light of recent news about the Church, everyone has a story about how someone has been hurt by the Church. It could have been them. I read Fr. Thomas Berg’s book Hurting in the Church a few years ago and it wrecked me.

However, the hurting and woundedness people are experiencing in relation to God isn’t always about what the Church did or didn’t do. We are wounded because our love is imperfect. People who we love have hurt us (and we have hurt those we love).

Many times I go into Churches and mention something like this in my coaching and it’s dismissed. “People will get over it.” or “People need to just get over it.” Well, the truth is that it’s not just that simple. That’s something I learned in therapy. Wounds are deep, many times scabbed over, often for different reasons than we realize.

So what can we do? First, begin by spending time in prayer with Christ the Healer for your own wounds. If you don’t think you have any, then take a deeper look with the Lord. Second, ask yourself how you can walk with people who are hurting, wounded, and broken. Can you ask them how they really are? Can you sit with them in prayer? Can you offer Masses for Healing?

Primarily, I would urge you to just be aware that “everyone’s walking around with a broken heart” as Tim’s Grandpa George was known to say. The people who attend Mass, volunteer for ministries, and live around your parish are all in search of healing and someone to accompany them on the road to freedom. All leaders in our parishes would do well to remember that before every encounter.

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