Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The 9th Thing I Love.

# 9 - Long conversations with strangers. Preferably in coffee shops.

“We pour out our miseries, God just hears a melody; beautiful, the mess we are; the honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a hallelujah.” ~ Amy Grant

I’ve had some incredible God moments the last few days. Maybe he’s trying to encourage me and show me that he’s with me as I delve into the depths of oft-uncomfortable self-awareness. Maybe he’s helping me learn who I am in him, so that I can better accept and face my mistakes, allowing me some freedom from the burden of my attempts at perfectionism. Maybe he’s teaching me how to offer myself some of the mercy that I tend to reserve for others. Or maybe he’s simply loving me - something that I can sadly forget in my efforts to serve him and love others. Regardless, I found myself stunned by a (warning, churchy phrase ahead) divine appointment today.
I was sitting in a coffee shop, reading a book for school and taking a break from transcribing my first "therapy" session. Although I wasn’t disheartened or even embarrassed by the recording, there were myriad things that I could have done better. Anyway, back to the coffee shop. I was packing up my things when I noticed an older man sitting near me. It was apparent to me that he had something heavy weighing on his mind, and I wondered if I should ask if he was okay. I kept watching him, and kept feeling that nudge in my heart to speak to him. I took my headphones out and caught his eye. Then I asked, “Waiting on someone?” It was an innocent way into conversation if he wanted to be engaged, and my hunch (AKA that kicking sensation the Holy Spirit uses sometimes) was right. This was a man who needed to talk. After a few moments of his story spilling out, he looked at me squarely and asked me, “Are you a Christian counselor?” I hadn’t spoken another word since my initial question to him. I was startled, but gave him the two sentence version of where I am in my life and where I plan to go. He nodded as if he already knew, and said, “I could just tell.” He continued to talk for about 30 minutes.
God used this stranger to remind me that, although I will make mistakes, he has called me to this profession and ministry. Though I may at times feel foolish, and though my errors may seem destructive or the skills may seem daunting, God has given me the ability to do that to which I have been called. I humbly give him my errors, and he beautifully weaves them with his grace and mercy into a tapestry of healing and wholeness. The picture will not be complete this side of heaven - for me, or for my clients. But if perhaps I can stay close to him, pressing into his chest and hearing his heart beat within me, I can catch glimpses of his artistry here on this earth. He is weaving it all together regardless of my participation or lack thereof. But I am so thankful that he allows my hand to rest on his from time to time, and my eyes to see what it is that he is making, if only in glimpses and snatches, as he pulls the beauty from our ashes.