Tuesday, December 14, 2004
You can't grab oil. To touch it is to lose it.
I am a marriage and family therapist. I work at the Better Life Counseling Center. I love my job. I get to listen to people share their deepest pain, their most intimate knowledge, their struggles...and I get to try to help them. Sometimes I am helpful and sometimes I am not. Either way, I see what happens from an extremely close view because I have the best seats in the house.The most common question I hear about my job is, "How do you do that? How do you sit and listen to people's problems all day long?"I guess I am a chronically hopeful person. I believe something good can happen. And if a person is hurting so bad that they need to see a counselor, I very much respect that they are experiencing pain I do not know of. I try to learn of their pain the best I can. I seek to enter their world. Sometimes I get close and sometimes I get lost.I do get to see a lot of good, a lot of healing, a lot of reconciliation happen right before my eyes. I applaud my clients who do this. They are the heros - not me. I can speak, but only they can do. I can make metaphors, but the make changes. I can console, but they can heal.What is hardest about my job is not that I listen to people's problems. No, problems are ripe with potential for good to happen. I am all for listening to problems. What is hardest is a day like today, when I received a letter from a former client. It ended in dovrce. It breaks my heart when healing to marriages and individuals does not comes. When they come to me for help and all I seem to be able to do assist in things getting worse. All of efforts, experience, training, time are not enough to help.I understand when they want to blame me for their marriage falling apart. I want to save them all. I would if I could. Sometimes I feel like I'm grabbing oil. It just keeps slipping through my fingers and make a big mess.My prayer is that I will serve the people who come to me for help with authenticity, skill, and compassion.