Having spoken last week on the topics of trauma and pastoral sexual abuse (and the resulting conversations with attendees at both sessions), I keep thinking this thought: Just don’t blow it.
Let me explain. Both sessions are filled with examples of Christian leaders abusing vulnerable people. It is common that attendees want to come up and chat with me about something similar that has happened to them or a loved one. During my trauma session, an individual commented to the whole group about a recent serious (and very public) allegation about a camp counselor and a decade of abuse to young boys. What would I tell these boys who were (allegedly) abused by someone they should have trusted?
Even when the problem is not abuse but moral failings, I note the massive, rippling fallout (fear, anger, anxiety, crushing heartbreak) in those in the know.
After the second session I got to go have a wonderful dinner with my wife. During it I was having double consciousness. I was with her and enjoying her company but having intruding thoughts about my own capacity to fail her, my kids, my parents, my colleagues, my students, etc. These vignettes I heard of “blowing it” can’t be all stupid of course. They too must have known how much destruction their choices would bring. I cannot rest on the fact that since I’m in the know, it won’t happen to me. Why? Because we are all prone to forget.
So, I spoke to myself, Just don’t blow it Phil. Remember that glowing face of your wife in the dinner light.
I’ll need a bit more than that I suppose…regular reminders and lots of prayer! It is easy to be ensnared and deceived by desires for comfort, glory, etc.