This weekend I hosted a parade of marathon phone calls and conversations. It all began with an innocent phone call about 5PM on Friday and didn’t end until about 11PM last night. The calls ranged from the hilarious to the arduous. They all had one common thread. A friend or relative had a need to get from one place to the next, geographically or emotionally, and I was elected tour guide.
You see, I found myself utterly and completely unqualified in every circumstance to be speaking, even when telling a friend whether to go straight, right or left on a road I’ve travelled countless times. Sometimes, in the dark, over the phone, the world is muddy. Let’s be honest. In the light of the noon sun, at times, the world is incomprehensible.
On Friday night, I bended my knee to what God has been encouraging since I was a young child. I have only spoken the two words to two people. It fits, but it scares me. In my mind, I’ve always had one career path, one idea of where God was leading me. But, when I wrote down the words “pastoral counseling” it seems that a dam in my life broke wide open.
Three hours logged into a call with my cousin whose father is cheating on her mother, trying to help her make sense of the situation, what role she can play for her little sister, how she can support her mother, who is choosing to stay in the situation with the man who has been my nemesis since he helped to move my aunt out of our house when I was six.
Between face time and phone time, I lost track of how many hours I spent convincing someone to talk to her sister. One is agressive; one is passive-agressive. Engage the two in a conversation that includes more than a how-d0-you-do, one leaves enraged, the other a massive bleeding wound. One leaves feeling victorious but unfulfilled, the other hidden tightly away in a shell that she has developed for these situations. How is it that I find myself having to call out a bully? Can a bully be reformed when she has created the caustic exterior to protect her from parents who are deceased who never protected her in the first place?
Another friend is in a transitional phase with work. She was really hurt by a church, though she will only admit fear. Today she leaves for an interview in Green Bay. She’s already found a church and a mall, so she’s pretty excited. Frankly, I’m excited for her because she needs to get away from this area, figure out what she wants her life to look like and go for it. I detest being the person to encourage my friends to go so far, but I want them to be healthy and successful so desperately that I’ll back any of God’s plans for their lives, even to my own detriment.
Last night, after listening to bits and pieces of this marathon, my sister said to me, “You’re like Dr. Phil or something. When my friends come to me with their problems, I say to them, ‘Dude, that sucks.’ Do you really care? Do you really want to help?” That left me thinking for a long time.
I do care. I truly want to leave people better. Yet, I am in a precarious situation. I know that I have no qualifications. I have a long resume of life experience. The only thing that I have to offer is what I know of the heart of the Father and a limited knowledge of the scriptures. All I can do is lead them to what Jesus says, back to the basics of Christianity. I lead them to the foot of the cross.
So, yeah. I’m like Dr. Phil. Only difference is that I attempt to lead people to a dialogue with Jesus Christ, and not to the Dr. Phil House of Horrors or to the local bookstore to purchase a self-help book that costs half a day’s salary and that will ultimately lead them back to my feet.
I want my friends and family to face the lion in the eye and KILL IT.