Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wounds That Skew

When I am interacting with people, I often have "out of body" experiences. Now before you JUDGE extrapolate some deep meaning from this regarding my psyche, let me explain. I am not CrAzY, but I am often in very, VERY intense interactions with our sweet girls at the House of Providence and I am mentally "outside" of the interaction in real-time. I find myself listening to them, responding to them and even consequencing them, and all the while I am dissecting the interactions (both mine and theirs).

Oftentimes, I think (while we are conversing): If this child grows up to be a prolific writer and in their memoirs they included their time at House of Providence, how would it be portrayed? What is their perspective regarding their time here? You see, it is easy to project our intentions without really understanding the lens through which others interpret our actions. My intentions are very important, but they are not the most important. I know what I mean, but what I call "misunderstandings" are reality for those who interpret the situation in their own hearts. I must steward my words well,  and take responsibility for my delivery. This is especially true when I am dealing with children and teens who are so wounded that they can barely get out of bed each morning!

How a situation or conversation is interpreted is always quite biased and depends largely upon our past experiences. Most ALL of our residents here at HOP interpret each interaction through a lens that is blurred by rejection, skewed by abuse and foggy with mistrust. As I step outside of each interaction and attempt to interpret their receptivity of my presentation, I must keep all of these things in mind! I do not have the luxury of ignoring this at all. ever. at HOP.

My love and correction does not usually translate for our girls at HOP. Their level of understanding cannot be assumed, and a conversation that SHOULD take five minutes, will likely need thirty to sixty minutes. These conversations are frought with questions like: "ok sweetie, what did you hear me say?" or "could you explain to me what you think I mean by that?". We have learned (the hard way) to review again and again so that we are sure that everyone is truly heard and that clarity is achieved. Until a level of healing happens, the sweet girls are constantly being wounded by benign interactions.

During our therapeutic groups, I try to help the girls gain framework for their hyper-sensitivity by likening this kind of emotional wounding to a physical wound. For example, if I have a gaping wound on my arm and a well-meaning friend comes and taps my arm during a hug, I am going to recoil in GREAT pain. Though there was no pain intended with the hug, because I am so wounded already, I could not withstand the interaction without walking away even more wounded. That is not the fault of my friend who gave the hug! If that same friend has the very same interaction with me when I am whole and healed (scars don't hurt anymore, they are proof of a healing) I would not recoil and the lens through which I view the interaction would be altogether different. Prior woundings cause our interpretations to be incredibly skewed, and while we are not responsible for someone elses reactions, we MUST learn to take great care (not enable) with how we interact with the wounded!

We are told in Romans to prefer one another, and a large part of that is giving room for others to interpret what we are saying or doing. We WILL be misunderstood because we all have different lenses through which we interpret every interaction. I've learned this (THE HARD WAY) and I try to make sure that what I am saying is laced with love and understood by the receiver.  A large part of that is my delivery and message palatability, but even more importantly, I need to understand the lens of the hearer!

Let's decide to be healthy and believe the best about others!! Let's learn to assume the best about their intentions, and LET. SOME. JUNK. GO!!!! If we do this, we will have so much more time to devote to meaningful things!