Two teenagers banging out a duet on an out-of-tune, Sunday School classroom piano.
I’ll admit it. that’s the first thing I think of when I see the words, “heart and soul.” And yet, it’s what I’ve chosen to call this blog.
Recently I was speaking to a class of graduate students in counseling. A student asked me how my identity as a minister affected my work as a counselor. After a moment of reflection, I replied that it helped me remember to look for the image of God in each person who came into my office, no matter how broken they seemed in that moment.
Had I had time to reflect further, I might have said something about the fact that while we love to compartmentalize the different parts of our lives, we are essentially a whole. Not only is the shin bone connected to the ankle bone but the heart and mind are connected to the soul. What we trust about God affects what we can trust about our own lives. And our thoughts and our feelings have an effect on these bodies that we carry around. That’s one reason why I think that it’s important to have a blog that deals with the issues of healing psyche as well as soul.
More than that, there are a lot of people of faith who are struggling. Sometimes they make it into my office. When they do, their faith either serves as grounding for them, a place where they can find strength and hope or it is a huge stumbling block and hindrance. Some of them express their feelings of both shame and horror should anyone at the church know they were seeing a counselor.
I also know there are also many who never make it into anyone’s office. They think that what faith requires of them is putting on a happy face while trying to ignore enough pain to stop a truck. If Jesus stopped by their town and asked what he could do for them, they are the ones who’d say, “I’m fine.”
There is enough legitimate suffering in the world, the kind that knocks on our doors and takes us by surprise. One of my strong beliefs is that we ought not to carry around any more suffering than what we have to carry. That in and of itself will be a gracious plenty.
So we come together here to talk about healing. It’s a place where we can give right names to fearful and fearfully hard places in our lives. But also a place where the very real signs of hope and healing can be seen and acknowledged. It’s a place where we can talk together.
You’ll just have to forgive me if you catch me humming under my breath, humming something that sounds like it’s coming from an out of tune church piano.