In preparation for Holy Week, we showed a video at church this last weekend in which several people answered the question, "If you had one week left to live, what message would you tell the people you were leaving behind?" Most responded with variations of "I love you" and "be good to each other," both of which I wholeheartedly agree with.
But as I sat there listening to this hypothetical question, I came up with another answer:
Go to counseling. If you are currently in counseling, keep going. If you are afraid of counseling, go. Think you don't need it? You will likely be surprised. (I was.) Counseling. Counseling. Counseling.
There are about a hundred other messages I would want to leave behind, but I find myself coming back to this one, probably because it’s meant so much in my own life. I’m very aware that with this being only my second post, I am at slight risk of oversharing, so I won't go into specifics. But I will tell you that going to counseling has become a discipline I need like I never expected.
I enter my counselor's office beaten down and broken apart, and we spend the next hour picking up the pieces and not just putting them back together, but asking why they fell off in the first place, what needs to be healed, and what I need to be letting go of.
For a "number one," this is a bittersweet experience. We "ones" enter practically every room asking, "What's broken and how can I fix it?" A lot of my issues come from approaching life this way, because they center on the lie that I’m responsible for much more than I actually am. Counseling has taught me how to determine which balls are in my court and which aren't. This is no small thing.
I’ve found that going to counseling is like tuning your instrument: You have someone help you isolate the notes that aren't making lovely sounds—the parts that you want to avoid because you’re stuck, because it would be so much easier to focus only on the parts you play well.
But you go, session after session, until the notes become less severe, and in time, sound beautiful. Because playing the whole instrument well is the goal. Wholeness is the goal.
My vision for us is simply this: that whole-y day turns into whole-y week, which turns into whole-y lives.
Now I turn to you: If you had one week left to live, what message would you tell the people you were leaving behind?
“I believe that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world always toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement with God.”
― Wendell Berry