In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others. ~ Brennan Manning
As the daughter of an ex-Marine and School Superintendent, I learned the life of perfected performance at an early age. I got good grades, I was always polite and I knew how to conduct myself in every social situation. I knew that, as the Superintendent’s daughter, my behavior reflected on my Dad.
A year or so before he died, Dad apologized for being so tough on my sister and me, saying: I didn’t know anything about being a father, I just wanted to raise good little soldiers. I think I always understood that on some level. He was a good father and I never doubted his love. His approval, however, was conditional and continued to be a major behavior modifier for me, from childhood into my adult life.
In time, I transferred a significant portion of that same perfected behavior and desire for approval from my earthly father to my heavenly One. I did good deeds, I was always polite and I knew how to conduct myself in every religious situation.
I thought I could fulfill my responsibility to community and to God by continuing to be a good little soldier. I concealed my wounds out of fear and shame. As Brennan says, in doing that, not only could my inner darkness not be illuminated (even to myself) but I was a very weak light for others.
Those that God has used most profoundly in my life, haven’t been the perfect Christian soldiers. They’ve been the ones who’ve crawled to the stream, so thirsty that they shamelessly gulped water with trembling hands. They are the broken healers who share their struggles; who’ve found grace and who grant grace as a healing gift. I pray to be more and more like them.