Courage is the ability to Trust

KJ Ramsey is an enneagram 4 like me. She is also an author, poet, and a licensed Somatic+Trauma-informed therapist. Her latest interview with Suzanne Stabile on The Enneagram Journey is excellent. I highly recommend.

This past year I have had to tap into this courage. To stand up to abuse and say I (we) are worthy of love and respect, will get you in trouble. To say “I matter” makes people and systems raging mad at you. It is a visceral response; they are not aware they are doing this most of the time. They were taught this same toxic message of self denial. Systems want people to be disconnected from themselves and easily shamed so they can be controlled. When I look closely at how most churches are run and how it is part of dominant culture, I can pinpoint how the church is a big part of the problem in what happened. There is so much more I want to say, but now is not the time. I most likely will be writing a book. My seminary training and my own healing work (prior to needing to heal again!) addressed everything that happened, and now I have a message to promote healing to help end this cycle of abuse. And I can help people reconstruct their faith so they do not have to leave it, if they so desire.

One thing I heard in the podcast is Enneagram 4s demand to be listened to. 🙂 I have no idea who would describe me this way. LOL! But there is something really important about that. KJ Ramsey is a 4 who is married to a 9–so am I. Nines are a bit different. Glennon Doyle, another 4, said it best: the only reason this world has any stability going on at all is because 9s exist. She is right! But 9s also struggle to believe they can assert themselves. This is where a 4 is beneficial. No problem there.

For all the stereotypes about enneagram numbers, which really drives me bananas because it devalues the strength the person carries within them, I would like to highlight how this is not a bad quality of the 4. The demand to be listened to is not a weakness. Of course it can be. Everything good can be a weakness. But what we fail to mention enough is this: Fours remember . Fours will stop when the time calls for stopping. It is because we are self-reflectors by nature.

When 9/11 happened, I knew nothing about the enneagram. But now that I know, it makes sense when I remember my response: Why are we moving on so quickly? We should stop.

I also lived through the Oklahoma City bombing. At that time we sort of did stop for tragedies. I remember we drove with our car lights on in solidarity for a while. I love symbols when they bring us together, especially when the grief is more than we can process at that moment. I will never forget we did that. I felt this same feeling when we wore masks during Covid. Whether you believed masks were effective or not (they were!), they were a symbol of solidarity during a traumatic time. To me they represented more than safety. They were a symbol of “we are in this terrible situation together.” That is what unity means to me. Not fake agreement between two sides.

Back to Oklahoma. Maybe it is because the 4/19 attack was closer to home for us that caused us to have a slightly more tender response toward one another. But it is wild how we rarely talk about it being domestic terrorism—our first instinct was outside terror. We were quick to name it when the terrorism was not with 9/11–and to even name these countries the “axis of evil.” Um, no! Unless we all want to be labeled that way. But all-in-all, we were not as hardened after 4/19 as we were 9/11.

Neither response to these attacks would I recommend again, though. The killing of Timothy McVeigh was the wrong response, because the problem was bigger than one person. We were quick to eliminate one person and not dig deeper into the roots of what drove him and others to plot this attack. The Iraq War and the Waco bombing had a lot to do with it. Post-9/11: we have killed more black and brown bodies post-terror attack than we lost in the actual terrorist attack. Also, I worked with people in New York at the time. The people in New York were calling for mercy, and several worked in the World Trade Center! The people in Oklahoma mostly were not calling for mercy. The people in New York were closer to the situation. They knew violence does not bring peace to a situation like this. They were right. We all should have listened.

The reason I am sharing this is because when we are disconnected from a situation and are on the outside looking in, it is easy to think we have the answers—both good and bad. In times of trauma, when we respond with violence, we make the situation worse than it was to begin with. Especially when there are people close to the situation (or people who understand situations like this) crying out and asking to be listened to, and they are not. What would the world be like if we actually listened to the people closer to the situation who know a lot more about what is going on?

This is why I do the work I do. The same is true for individuals. When we are not going deep inside ourselves and learning our own stories, doing our own healing, and living our own truth—we will transmit our pain. We will also listen to outside sources tell us who we are and what is happening to us. That will never be true. Outsiders can only tell you what they see on the outside looking in; it may not be anywhere close to what is true. We will then project what is going on inside us onto others and cause deeper damage for all of us as a community, and healing is delayed. It is never about one person.

That is what Jesus life shows me as well.

courage #healingjourney #loveistheonlyway #hatecannotdriveouthate #endpunitivesystems #enactsystemsofaccountabilityandhealing #repentandrepair

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