Okay, well the truth is I never really stopped, as this blog attests. But I have not been nearly as active as I was in the past and I have not been working on a larger book length project for over a year. There are a lot of reasons for this that I won’t go into right now. Some of my reasons may become apparent as I work on this new project anyway.
For now, suffice it to say two things.
1) After I published Meekoethics I was mentally spent. That book is deeply personal to me and digging into parts of my past that have shaped me into the man I am today took a lot out of me.
2) I ran out of things to say for a while. It wasn’t so much writers block as it was just a lack of significant incite to add to the conversation. I tried for a while to write about leadership but that effort felt strained. I was reaching for something that I have very little personal knowledge of. The work felt academic, not personal and if there is one thing I have learned its that I write best when I have some experience with the topic, some skin in the game so to speak and something personal to say about it. I prefer to write as though I am trying to send a message to my former self and I really don’t have much to say to myself on leadership, at least not yet.
What I do have something to say about is mental health and spiritual well-being. I won’t get into a lot of the details as to why this is my current focus now, hopefully as I work it through my reasons should become obvious.
As I did with my previous works, each time I complete a chapter I will post excerpts here for your review and comment. The following is the first such excerpt from the introduction. Enjoy, please comment and join the conversation so that we can make this a bit of a collaborative effort.
Broken – Our Journey to wholeness through anxiety, pain and adversity
I met my first rape victim in 1992. At least she was the first person I knew who was open enough about it to say so.
I knew the statistics, according to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General Victims Services Secretariat, 39% of Women over the age of 16 have experienced some form of sexual assault. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience some form of sexual assault in their lifetimes.
I knew, on an intellectual level at least what that meant. Even in our small town, three or four of the girls in my high-school graduating class, if it hadn’t happened already, would eventually be victims of sexual assault and although I was far from a Casanova myself at least one of the girls I had dated would eventually become a victim.
That last thought turned my stomach.
The more I got to know this girl the more I realized that the scars left on her soul would likely never heal. She exhibited behaviour that I had seen before, sexual promiscuity, fierce independence, abuse of alcohol and a general liaise fair attitude in the face of some truly traumatic events in her life. I began to wonder if this behavior could point to the fact that the other girls (and a few boys too) I had seen acting in this way were also victims of sexual assault. Truthfully, I may never know but to this day I still wonder.
Eventually my encounters with this young girl began to wane as our lives moved in different directions. I haven’t seen or even thought about her in over 25 years, that was, until today. I wonder if she ever found healing. I hope so, but somehow I doubt it.
I doubt it because in the intervening years I have spent time with a number of other survivors of trauma, some of it sexual in nature and some of it not. As I’ve branched out from my relatively sheltered up bringing in a small town surrounded by a community full of “salt of the earth” type people I’ve begun to see the world in a different light.
I’ve taken off my rose coloured glasses as it were and begun to see the world as it truly is, a dark, dreary and often times, downright evil place full of fear, sadness, trauma and shame. In short, the world is broken. But it is also a world of unsurpassed beauty, a world of love, grace and healing.
This is not a book about sexual assault, although my hope is that all victims of trauma of any kind may begin to find some form of healing within its pages. This is first and foremost a book about God, His perfect plan for our lives, His deep pain at our losses and His deeper compassion for our health and mental well-being. It is a book about repairing our brokenness, healing our souls and journeying into wholeness, no matter the cause or depth of our traumas.
Dr. Greg Boyd, teaching pastor at Woodland Hills Community Church in Minneapolis Minnesota during a Sunday sermon once called all humanity “infinitely valuable image bearers of the divine.” I have unashamedly stolen that phrase and use it constantly in my discussions about God’s grace with the people I encounter.
We all carry with us the image of God imprinted on our mind, body and soul. Even when we are broken, when we are sad, afraid, and full of shame, we are first and always God’s image bearers. And not just image bearers but infinitely valuable, infinitely worthy and infinitely loved by our creator.
We all carry the scars of our past, there is very little we can do about that. May the pain subside and the image of God shine through each and every one of our lives.
Welcome to the journey.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” [Jesus, John 16:33]
Lauren C. Sheil is a serial entrepreneur who has been in business for over 25 years. He has operated a small farm, a recording studio and a music manufacturing plant, and has written 3 books on Economics, Ethics and Spirituality. He has presented his ideas to business owners and leaders from all over the world. His latest book “Meekoethics: What Happens When Life Gets Messy and the Rules Aren’t Enough” is available on Amazon.com.
Mr. Sheil is currently a Financial Security Advisor and Business Planning Specialist with one of Canada’s premier financial planning organizations. He brings to his work a passion to people to live life to the fullest while Eliminating Debt, Building Wealth and Leaving a Legacy.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 613-295-4141.