As a Pastor, you live a bit under the microscope. I get that. I put a magnifying glass over the microscope in how I live so much “out there.” Whether it be this website, social media, or just living so publicly, I put myself in a very visible lifestyle. I’m cool with that and understand what comes with that. However, sometimes it’s the little things that surprise me.
In my church, after several worship songs, I teach about how to love others. I/we believe that it’s not enough to just talk about love (which doesn’t happen enough) but to equip people with tips in how to love people. After that, we take 3 or so minutes to welcome each other. Everyone gets up, moves around, and says hi. It’s kind of crazy and loud but fun and hopefully leaves people feeling welcomed and loved. It’s during that time where I face a unique challenge.
I have roughly 3 minutes to greet everyone that needs a “hello’ from the Pastor. Now, I am secure enough to know that I can’t get to everyone. However, it still has it’s challenges. If two people are talking to each other, I don’t want to approach them as they may feel like I’m imposing on them. “Who needs me?” I frequently ask myself. Who is new? How to greet the new folks so as to make them feel comfortable but not overwhelmed? Let’s not even mention when I’m not sure if I’ve met someone before or not. That’s a socially uncomfortable nightmare. Is it a huge deal overall? No, but there’s a lot of thinking (and occasionally praying) on my feet that happens. Which is why what happened recently cracks me up…or in a more Pastorly way, “Leaves me burdened.”
It has come to my attention that someone was put off, hurt, besmirched, whatever, that I always make sure to say hi to their adult son, but very often barely say hi to them. They wondered if I didn’t care for them much. Hilarious. In no way, shape, or form, do I purposely “snub” the parent of that guy. Why do I pay more attention to the son? Do I pay more attention to the son? Noooooooooooooo clue. Regardless, they perceive it to be that way so I have to do my part to ever so gently fix it. That’s my responsibility.
However, if I look at the situation from a more clinical perspective something I know to be true becomes very clear. We are hurt, IN our hurts. I don’t know a ton about the parent that felt ignored by me. I do know that they are relatively shy and overshadowed by others in their family. **AT THIS POINT IN TIME I SHOULD CONFIRM THAT I HAVE CHANGED THE NAMES OF THOSE INVOLVED SO THAT I AM NOT PUTTING ANYONE’S BUSINESS ON FRONT STREET OR AS THE KIDS WOULD SAY “BLOWING UP THEIR SPOT.” IN OTHER WORDS, I AM MAINTAINING CONFIDENTIALITY** As I think more about it, this parent HAS probably been overlooked, ignored, or even neglected in their past, probably in their childhood years. Therefor, they are predisposed to being hurt in that fashion, even when it’s not there (in my case). Whatever the case, I need to pay more attention to them in the future. This leads me to think, “How do I do that?” Where am I hurt when the hurt is actually from years ago…and not now?
You see, hurts go places. When not comforted, they fester, they leave marks. We are changed by them. Very often, especially with the biggest hurts, we are changed in very obvious ways. However, it is the sneaky ways that impact us on a more regular, clandestine way. We get hurt in situations that most others would not be hurt. We may even be aware of the fact that we are emoting more than we should but can’t “put things in perspective” or “get over it.” Why? Because our hurts from our past have remained. They poison our future. They leave marks.
You must intentionally work hard to express those hurts from long ago with a trusted loved one who will simply join you in your emotion (really, read that linked post). They aren’t to give you facts, logic, and reason. They aren’t to point out the good that came from that hurt. They for sure as shootin’ are not to excuse the one(s) who hurt you. No, they are to simply feel sad WITH you. That is good comfort and will begin to lessen the hurt that happened to you long ago.