[Oh, Kelli Owen, you are sooooooooo going to need to skip this blog post of mine]

The long road back from pain, living in the midst of pain, is like living in the fog:  you’ve gone through difficulty, still in that difficulty, but can’t see too far ahead into that pain.  What’s the point of the pain?  I have no idea.  One thing about the wounded healer is that they have a unique perspective to be able to speak into pain, as they have been through it.  Survived it.  So it gives them a special/insightful voice to not only know what those in pain are going through, but also how best to meet their needs. Sometimes you may be used for benefit of others, as a comfort for when they are going through pain.  You can offer them hope in their despair.  Having been through pain, you look at it in a different way.  Certainly it sucked at the time, but you can speak into it in new ways.  There is a qualitative difference in how we speak about pain after having experienced true pain ourselves.

Emotional pain can be just as debilitating as physical pain and require just as long a process of healing.  As we process, there are several questions that we wrestle with.  In the midst of the pain, we wonder what the point of it all is.  It’s funny how often we default to a “learned lesson” language.  Yet Job never had a lesson:  his pain wasn’t even about him.  He had the lesson and faith from the beginning and was blameless.  Some of us suffer self-inflicted wounds, but they are wounds nonetheless.  As we’re ready to punch through to the healing/other side of things, we wonder “what does it look like to embrace our brokenness?”

Wounds can be a source of healing. Many folks have been shocked (sometimes dismayed) by how open I/we have been about our personal issues.  Some have even taken it upon themselves to be offended on our behalf (an admittedly odd stance).  Some have fretted about maintaining my image as well as worried about my privacy (for which I am thankful for those voices … even as I appear to not always listen to them).

But that’s all just random noodling.  For those who would like an update on how things are going on the personal side but didn’t want to ask, well, someone did.  Figured I’d share the Gmail chat conversation I recently had with a friend here (with her permission):

me:  honestly, going to killercon saved our marriage.
Michelle:  Did it really??
me:  i know.  irony.  vegas HEALING a marriage.  but it allowed us to get away from everything and reconnect with each other.
Michelle:  I am so glad to hear that! Things are on the mend, then?  (have been?) I feel so out of touch.
me:  forgiveness takes time. but things are better than they were BEFORE the marriage in a lot of ways. i’m a lot different, honestly.
Michelle:  do tell
me:  more open. more emotionally available. i talk more.
Michelle:  is that possible?
me:  well, talk more in a REAL way.
Michelle:  LOL. Ok, I’ll take that.
me:  *smile*
Michelle:  I didn’t like you for awhile. But it was probably obvious.
me:  yeah.
Michelle:  I’m glad to hear you’re better now.  Seriously glad.
me:  it only cost us our church and several friendships.
Michelle:  Not so much for me, but for you and Sally and the kids. There’s always a cost.  And really, when it all boils down…God, Sally and the kids should be your primary concern.
me:  and that’s it.  and honestly?  we’ve gotten a real community out of it.
Michelle:  You’ve got no one to please outside of that. At the new church?
me:  yeah.  found out who our real friends were and also gained a new circle of friends.  though i will say, it’s hard for sally to trust in a church any more.  that’s something we’re still navigating.
Michelle:  Sometimes God allows conflict to bring about change that we’d not likely participate in.
me:  not likely at all.
Michelle:  What did you learn? (besides the obvious) Because there’s always layers.
me:  yeah, we’ll have to have that conversation another time.  there’s a lot there to unpack
Michelle:  I bet.
me:  my inability to comprehend love.  my inability to understand that i am loved
Michelle:  That one’s always tough.
me:  my inability to know that i don’t have to perform or “earn” people’s affection
Michelle:  Yep. Been there done that one.
me:  accepting the fact that sally loves me.  and that God does too.
Michelle:  Hard lessons there.  But GOOD lessons. And ones that chip away and get down to that “proven character”
me:  understanding the lies i’d come to believe about myself. understanding the walls in which i lived
Michelle:  I’m terribly proud of you.  I mean that.
me:  thanks.  now, i just don’t want to #&*% things up.  i remember what one of those pastors told me:  know that you’re gonna #&*% it up, just know that hopefully you won’t #&*% it up in the old ways.  yay all new ways!
Michelle:  LOL.  How’s Sally holding up?
me:  better now.  it was touch and go for a while there.
Michelle:  You’re a blessed man to have a woman like her.
me:  i know.  another thing i came to understand
Michelle:  [dear husband] wouldn’t have a wife or a chance.
me:  and that cost her, too.
Michelle:  And hard as it is for me to admit, I’m not that forgiving. I don’t know that I could be.
me:  there were some folks who were like “if you’re gonna stay with him, we’re gonna leave.”
Michelle:  Oh that does make it hard.
me:  yeah
Michelle:  But what a picture of reconciliation God has painted with the two of you.
me:  did i mention not wanting to #&*% things up?
Michelle:  I’m so quick to cut ties, it’s amazing to see you guys do this.  LOL.  I suppose that’s your cross to bear, eh?
me:  lol.  if that’s as bad as it gets, i’ll take it.
Michelle:  Agreed. Could be a lot worse. Good thing God is graceful.
me:  good thing.
Michelle:  Even though I can imagine how hard it was to go through (and still walk through) all this, I’m so glad you’re coming out this side of it better than you were.
me:  i honestly hadn’t noticed the changes.  some of the pastors who had been walking through this with me pointed them out to me. said i was demonstrating “the fruits of repentance”.  i’m still processing that one.
Michelle:  I can understand that. You have to feel lighter. Freer.
me:  free is definitely the right word.