Foolishly, I continue to hope that there might be some sort of heavenly zipper that can shut the mouths of influential preachers who call themselves “Christian.” I couldn’t believe what I heard come out of Pat Robertson‘s mouth this week and, apparently, I am not the only one.
The following is a great post by a new Facebook friend. If being considered “weird” is because I was wounded as a child, then I think most of us qualify. Sadly, some suffer a whole lot more than most, and Kristi is one of them. She has earned the right to speak:
I love stories. I love hearing them, and I love telling them. I’ve been told I have a lot of stories. I think it’s because I watch, listen, and take a lot of mental notes. All the time. It borders on weird, which just so happens to be the theme of this blog.
Last night my precious nieces, nephew, and sister gathered at my house for a short visit on their way back to Bend. We sat and talked, and told a story or two.
At one point in our visit, I was telling my family about how my kids’ friends often confide in me about some of their, uh—most personal secrets. I’ll get completely ramdom text messages from some of them, telling me about some of the bad (in my opinion) choices they’re making. I don’t honestly know WHY they’re telling me sometimes, because they know where I stand on most things. I think it’s because they WANT me to knock some sense into them. And I do. In love. They know that there are some secrets I won’t keep for them, primarily the ones that might include any form of abuse or self-harm. I’ve made it clear that if you tell me those secrets, I’m bound to tell. And I will.
My family found this particular story especially humorous. One of my kids has a friend I absolutely adore. And it’s mostly because he’s so incredibly quirky…and real about his stuff. He’s told me that he has been in therapy and on meds for quite a few issues, including depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, etc. We talked a lot about that one time when I was driving a car full of kids somewhere. I loved that he’d talk about that in front of a bunch of his friends. I think his friends loved it, too. His weirdness is what they love most about him–that and his transparency.
One time when I was picking Maddie up at her school, I saw this favorite, issue-struggling kid of mine. He came running up to the car, and shouted to me (while the entire school was being released from school, within earshot), “HEY!!! I don’t smoke weed anymore!!!!” He’d never told me that he did, and so I just said, “Hey, that’s great!”
So a few weeks ago, we ran into him as he was skateboarding through a grocery store parking lot, with a sling on his arm. I stopped, rolled down my window, and asked him how he’s doing. He immediately shouted out proudly, loudly, and unashamedly, “I’m in rehab!!” Smiling, and knowing exactly what he meant, I asked, “For your arm?” He smiled back, and said, “No! Drugs!” We had a great little chat, and I told him how incredibly proud I am of him, and to keep it up. I told him how hard I know it is to face your stuff, and that not many people his age do. I told him I loved him, and he looked at my daughter, and they both laughed and shook their heads like, “Your mom’s so weird“.
I love that people trust me enough to tell me their deepest and messiest stuff. It’s hard sometimes, especially knowing the line between caring and wearing. I’m not very good at it, but my own issues require me to exercise and keep healthy boundaries. If I don’t, I’m not any good for anyone.
Last week I got an email from a friend, that was such a gift to me. She shared with me that she’s started her own recovery as an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. I know that journey well, as I walked it myself—and continue to. She shared some of the details, and as I read them, they were SO familiar. Things like learning how to set healthy boundaries to take care of yourself, family reactions to our boundary setting, looking back to the source of the wounds we carry as adults from our childhoods in order to make sense of them, remove the lies we believed as children and replace them with what is true—from our adult perspective. Healing. All of it sounded so very familiar to me, and I felt so honored that she’d share her journey with me. She apologized for “rambling” and dumping. I thanked her for giving me the gift of being able to listen and support—just as a handful of people in my life did when I was in the thick of it, like she is. I vowed back then that I’d give the same gift to someone else, if and when I ever had the chance to. And boy, I get the chance all the time. And it’s pretty beautiful.
I hang with broken, messed up people, and they gravitate towards me like a magnet. I’m good with that. They’re my people. It’s amongst the well put together, shiny, never have a bad day, or won’t admit to it people that I’m least comfortable being around.
I’m sad and kind of hurt and offended when I see or hear people talk about “people with baggage“. “Stay clear of the people who are damaged, and have baggage“, some shallow people say. Pat Robertson said that yesterday. Not a huge shocker, but yet another great disappointment that it came from someone who claims to represent the same God I know and love–and has a public platform to do so from. He claims to speak for the same God I know to be madly, wildly, deeply in love with, and committed to the broken hearted. I’m sorry if you are feeling devalued by the words of Pat Robertson. He doesn’t speak the truth on this, and he doesn’t speak for God–or me.
One last story and then I’m done….
When Maddie was about 3 or 4 years old, she had this little porcelain doll, and it was her favorite. It wasn’t one of the expensive ones that you’d want to protect in a glass case, so she played with it all the time. One day she dropped it on the floor and the leg broke off. She brought it to me in tears. My immediate thought was to throw it in the trash, mostly because I thought it posed a safety hazard, being glass and all, but also, it was damaged. It was no longer “perfect”. We all know dolls should be flawless, right?
Something stopped me. I believe God speaks in mysterious ways, and I believe that He “spoke” (impressed upon my heart and mind through a thought) that there was a valuable lesson for both Maddie and me in this moment, about the value God places on broken people…the love and care He shows them in bandaging up and healing their wounds.
So, I got out some thick gauze and some tape, and I taped that leg up so that Maddie could keep it, and continue to play with it safely. It didn’t look very pretty, but Maddie loved that doll. What would it have said to her, if I’d immediately discarded something that was precious and of value to her, just because it was no longer perfect?
I don’t know if she even remembers that story, but I do. I’ll never forget it. And personally, I needed to be reminded of it today, after feeling a little twinge of pain and a sting from Pat Robertson’s words yesterday, advising people not to adopt children who had experienced abuse in their childhood because they might “grow up to be weird“.
Let me go on record and say that Pat Robertson is wrong. Please open your hearts and homes to broken, wounded children. I’m pretty sure you’ll see that having the opportunity to be a healing, loving influence in their lives will be a gift for both you and them. And odds are pretty good that they won’t grow up “weird“. But then again, I’m a fan of broken, weird, quirky people, so I’m not convinced that it would be the end of the world, even if they did!