How It All Got Started, Part Two

When last we left my “story”, I had left a conference nearly despondent. I recall my wife picking me up after the conference. I cried when I saw her. Friends came to console me. I could hardly be consoled. I just wanted to get out, but I wasn’t quite ready to go back into the “real world”.

On the way home I poured out all kinds of poison lurking in my heart of hearts. I expected my wife to be shocked and stunned by what I was telling her. She wasn’t. She told me she would never stop loving me and would be there every step of the way. Wives are a gift from God. That’s no lie.

I got home and made an effort to contact a psychologist. I had a brief consultation with a health care professional who recommended I visit a psychologist with a Ph.D. I found one close to home after searching a few days. I made an appointment and visited the person.

Big disappointment. Very big disappointment.

The psychologist did ALL THE TALKING. I hardly said anything during the 60 minutes. I was scared and confused. Is this how it’s supposed to go? Does the professional do all the talking and I just sit there and listen? Clearly something was not right.

I left the psychologist’s office that night angry. I felt like I was cheated. Nothing was accomplished. Fortunately, I had a back up plan.

My health care provider gave me more than one name. I tried contacting the other psychologist to no avail. Finally, the other doctor called me back. I made an appointment. My doctor (a male, so I’ll call him “he”) was concerned about the drive to his office; he was 35 minutes away. I needed the drive. I didn’t mind it at all!

So I drove to his office. We had a productive first visit. I told him about everything I went through a few weeks ago. I told him about my family struggles, my ministry struggles, and all the other poison in my mind. He did the strangest thing. He listened. He asked all the right questions that led me to say some things that hurt me to say. But I needed to hear me vocalize my pain.

He did another strange thing. The doctor told me to picture myself as three Old Testament saints: Jacob, Samuel, and I forget the other one. Then he told me to write down how my life paralleled their lives. I wrote one as Samuel. Here’s the last paragraph of what I wrote:

“I am my family’s Samuel. I see joy and heartbreak. I deliver Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament. I am lent to the Lord to serve Him as He lent me to my parents for them to serve me by raising me in a Christian household. I find joy in doing what’s been given me to do, though it hurts people as much as it helps.”

Writing these words was great therapy. There was another moment that was even better therapy, but I didn’t know it at the time. That’s the subject of the next post.



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