You don't owe anyone access to your trauma - on Jesus, Thomas, and wounds


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Thomas needed to feel his way into belief. He depended on the vulnerability of Jesus to help him get back in touch with his own after so much violence was done. But when this story ends, though transformation did occur, we do not see Jesus begin a tour of such encounters.

We remember:

You do not owe anyone access to your trauma because you hope for their solidarity. Even Jesus was choosy about with whom he shared the details of his body’s memories.

Some hearts are in the process of opening, and through you, they may believe. Others are not there. Not ready. Not able to receive the gift of your vulnerability.

Your story of survival, of persisting, of remaining is precious. You can be selective about when and how and with whom you share it.

Yes, your scars can be a powerful witness. Offer them courageously to those you choose. On your terms. On your time. You get to practice wisdom and discernment about when and how you do so.

Be careful of those who only want to witness your pain in order to feel something. Be mindful of a world that markets and profits off of stories of suffering. Remember that some will listen, but they will only hear with the ears of their loyalty to the church, or the state, their comfort, or a worldview that covers over evil.

Strangers, knowingly and not, will feel entitled to see the marks on your hands, to reach for the wound in your side, because you asked them to care.

But remember that you and your people and movements for Life have nothing to prove to be deserving of love, deserving of freedom, deserving of comrades and allies. So let your story be an invitation into collective liberation, not a plea for the crumbs of others’ conviction. You can tell the truth in ways that aliven you. You can be honest without being objectified.

The power of God lives in your testimony,
and every ghost who lingers in your story,
every saint who made you strong,
every bit of holy that helps you endure,
they are deserving of dignity, as are you.
And when you discern that the right people,
the right spirit, the right moment has come,
the intimate truths of your story can be shared like a sacrament -
like bread -
blessed, broken open,
nourishment for the hungry,
a feast in remembrance of God.

- Rev. M Barclay, enfleshed