In my profession, I work with people making their way through the circumstances of life. They are mostly, in my experience, good people, even honorable people, and very often people I come to respect greatly for the persistent work they have done in the making of their way in life. But, they also, without exception, are hurt people.

Hurts come

  • from others,
  • from the self,
  • from pervasive, systematic evil, and
  • from sources we will never be able to name.

The hurts come

  • by accident,
  • through ignorance,
  • in carelessness,
  • out of malice,
  • as an artifact of growth,
  • from profoundly inaccurate mental images of basic things such as the self, the world, God and how He works

I am always curious to find the model a person has in their head of growth. Is it a line, a spiral, a roller coaster, a knot? Does this person even believe growth exists? or is possible? or is worth it?

Because of my foundational beliefs about the human creature, I use the word, growth, to be synonymous with “allowing God to build us and write our story.”

As I’ve said in previous posts, the best of stories have very bad scenes, even bad chapters and stories within stories.

I’m writing this post because I am thinking of the particular hurt that can come from having a profound misunderstanding of how God builds us, which is the same as a profound misunderstanding of growth.

I’ve included a story below in a sort of free verse style. It should not be read as a complete story, or even a true story. But it is a common story and one found over and over in the Psalms. Depending on our understanding of growth it can be felt as a story of disappointment, despair, injustice, or tragedy. And felt in that way, it becomes one of the common sources of deep hurt like the ones I’ve listed above. And some version of this story shows up with great frequency in my office when hurt people are ready to tell it. But it is like one of the common optical illusions you have seen where the same picture can be seen as an old woman or a young girl.

I believe what is written below to be a story of growth, a story of God building someone.

How do you see it? And… are you willing to try to see it differently?

this path to lose

Little feet. Little steps.
The first. The few.
Close. Near. Small.
No path. No need. No lost. No new.

First questions. First answers.
Important words for him.
Who? Why? How?
A path? Careless words from them.

Going. Finding. Taking. Giving.
Building. Dreaming. Longing. Choosing.
A sense of me. A range of them.
His path. more of finding, less of losing.

Gathering. Grouping. Attaching. Risking.
A thought of we. A team. A cohort.
A man leaving behind the alone, the boy.
Our path. Larger steps. Rising import.

The hard. The bad. The wrong.
Surprised. Unprepared. collecting pain.
Resolve. Faith. A tighter grasp.
A sometime path. Sometime disdain.

Spent. Fatigued. Drawn out.
A plot. A lie Their plan.
To shame. To crush.
What path? What light? What remnants of the man?

Though seeking the close, the safe, the known.
Isolation. Fear. An evil ploy.
Though calling, searching, clawing, finds
No path. Only a boy.