I am sittning at the Salvation Army leadership conference in Örebro, listening to Tommy Hellsten talking about finding your true self and how the ego must be crucified, taken apart, gotten rid of.
I think of Eddie Izzard that stated last night during his “Force Majeure” show that he had an overgrown ego, he tells an anecdote where he is riding in a taxi back from watching a show at Wembley stadium, the cabbie asks: Will you be going back to Wembley and Eddie thinks the cabbie is referring to his career rather than a return trip in the cab he's currently riding and embarrassing hilarity ensues. (This entire paragraph is just another example of what this post is about #namedropping)
In a moment of clarity I see how often I allow my ego to take center stage. How I make something unrelated about me and about my story. Especially looking back at my latest trip to “Subvert the norm II”, how often did I insert myself in a conversation, making it about me when it may have been something else entirely (and much more interesting) from the beginning. It seems terribly habitual, in every scene from the script of my life, I fall back into this pre-adolescent mode. See me, hear me acknowledge me.
Granted, the reason I went on this trip was to figure out what to do with my life, my calling, my ministry. Even so I break into the ongoing conversation with my story, when maybe listening to the others story might have been what would allow me to be confronted with a subversive story that may free me of my troublesome contemplations.
Henri Nouwen speaks of the wounded healer, but as my beloved mentor and friend Brian Slinn taught us in our understanding people class: your wound is where you find compassion and empathy for the other, but you do not have to bring it out and show it. In other words, our woundedness and the vulnerability we can develop out of it is what teaches us compassion, empathy and gives us the inner strength and integrity to help the other but we do not need to bleed on them.
My only solace and prayer is that someone else may have encountered my story and my journey and been transformed by being confronted with the other, however misplaced my motivations may have been.
I do hope that I will get better at spotting when this happens and say: Oh my ego! Time to shut up! Until that day I give you, my friends permission to speak for me, just tell me to shut it.