I’m thinking this little protocol might be a useful tool for those of us who tend to go to social media with things we might better work through in other ways. At least, in hindsight, I wish I had considered advice like this long ago.
You “lucky” readers may see my scabs (if not my open wounds) from time to time, but I have a lot of good excuses for airing them here—not least of which is that my Facebook feed has been criticized by many for being too self-revelatory. There’s nothing to keep the more scrupulous critics from joining me here in my own self-criticism, and they are welcome. I’ll keep writing until all are healed and left as scars, or until I die with them still yucky, whichever comes first.
I understand, however, that most people don’t want to think of their friend, a fellow sojourner, and a Christian—let alone a clergy person—having thoughts or experiences outside the Father Flanagan image. It’s like finding out that your girlfriend actually goes poop, or that your parents had sex at some point. Yet I think it’s true that, despite the ickiness of life, stuff happens. And it happens to me, and even because of me.
How many SM posts have I removed because someone either complained, expressed worry, or considered calling in the mental hygiene team for me! It gets old, trying to censor yourself not from saying something offensive (though I can’t guarantee that won’t happen here), but from revealing your own human experience (which can be its own offense, it seems). I wonder, how often that might happen in our communities (all kinds of them). Does this kind of expectation have any part to play in so many people self-isolating these days? Hmmm.
I’ll be the first to admit I’ve made SM posts with particular people as “target audiences” as one might rightly call them. Hopefully, however, none of them made people feel like targets. I’ve tried to apologize to those who have told me that they received them that way (and especially to those who were not even target audience members, but still felt “the burn”). Indeed, words may never really carry the meaning intended by the speaker/writer.
Here’s the truth: I have a lot of faults and have made a lot of mistakes—big ones. But I will honestly say that I have never intended to harm another living being. I may have occasionally wanted believe there was something to the idea of “karma,” which I’ll explain someday is not “a thing” to me now. Yet I have never even considered personally doing harm to someone else intentionally.
But damn! I have inflicted harm to so many others! I won’t name names or give details, but I have confessed to God (and to some of the victims) to damaging a lot of lives by my sinfully limited vision and emotional unintelligence. I may not be the only one who could cop to this kind of reality, but there are times I think I’m the worst among such perpetrators.
I know my own hypocrisy; I own my “junk.” And I do hope that I have earned some valuable scars while carrying it around. But I want to use the days left to me trying to repair the damage I have done to others…as long as I don’t have to make any substantive changes in my way of life. (Why does all of this sound like a typical middle-class liberal wanting to cover up his own carbon footprint?) My faith tells me I should make amends, my rational mind tells me I probably can’t, and my experience tells me I likely won’t. But I want to. Maybe that’s another act of self-serving, pandering egotism on my part. Alas. I’m a pleaser, so I have that going for me.
Like most people—not to toss you into a pot of generalizations—I will probably go to my grave over-fed, privileged beyond my own understanding, and mourned more extravagantly than history will say was reasonable for a bloke like me. And I’ll be kvetching all the way to my own wake about the weather, the government, and my stock portfolio.
Some will notice the scars, though, and will teach their children how to avoid the kinds of wounds I’ve suffered—most of which were self-inflicted—and to not pick at their scabs. Maybe that will be some “value-added” benefit to some for having journeyed with me—or passed me by—along the way to their best life.
One thought on “Over-share? Moi???”
I have long admired your honesty regarding your imperfections especially at the pulpit. I think too many church-goers tend to think that their pastor should be a perfect leader who is above the congregation instead of a peer who was simply willing to step forward and guide others.
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