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dissonance |ˈdisənəns|: a tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements.That's it really. It's what I do. I create it on purpose as a clinician--a counselor. It is what makes people wake to reality and see how they contribute to their own chaos. It becomes a cathartic and challenging experience well suited for change. I create it accidentally as a husband, friend, son, brother, and believer. I AM: 32 years old; a counselor; a husband to a beautiful woman; a believer in The Way; and most of the time clueless to my own dissonance that I create.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It’s nine hours home from Wilmore. It’s not a quick kind of ride. I have the original Nano that cannot store the entirety of my music library, which in all honesty is not that extensive. I rarely update it anyway and end up listening to the same old stuff; however, this trip home led me to explore some high school era fads, namely Five Iron Frenzy. Ahhh, my ska days…another desperate attempt for me to be both cool and Christian. Charley and I sing to the top of our lungs more reminiscing and being playful than reflecting on the lyrics. Then we get to “Where the Zero meets the Fifteen.” The song narrates a tipping point moment for its author who begins to realize the gravity of desperation around him and his own incompetence to evoke lasting change. I guess I began to identify with the music because I had to start fighting back tears.

I am learning that the counselor’s chair is a hard one in which to sit. I am charged with sifting through the pieces of a lot of broken lives. My original conceptualization, during college as I first started this vocation, was one that foresaw my “saving” people from their heartaches. I was voted “most likely to ‘save’ the world” in high school after all. So far, this vision has been shattered. Instead, I find myself crawling up beside another bent-over individual searching for the missing pieces and hoping that in some small way I am a help. I found myself crying out with the singer and asking God what it is that I contribute, really? The lyrics go,

I put my face down in my hands,

water wells inside my eyes.

What do I have to give them?

Does it matter if I try?

I can't stand to see you suffer,

I try to intellectualize,

a formula to end your pain,

it doesn't work,

God knows I've tried.

I want to try and save the world,

but it never goes that way.

God I don't know what to do,

down at Colfax and Broadway.

I don’t intend to be a wet blanket; my purpose is not to be a discouragement, but rather to express this deep yearning to meet the needs of my clients. I want them to see the love of Christ in my service to them, but I also hope for them to be made whole. I don’t have the answers for them. Most of the time I’m struggling to come up with a treatment plan that is efficacious. In my friendships, it’s the same story just with a different twist. I give a very imperfect kind of love. I offer brokenness in exchange for brokenness. It is not despair that I am evoking, but rather, it is a realization that what they need does not come from me. This would be a disconcerting idea if what I was hoping for was to be a form of salvation; however, this is not mine, my family’s, my friend’s, nor my client’s hope. Our hope is not in what I have to offer anyway; it is way beyond me. The reality is that just like the author of the song, all I have to offer is “thirteen cents and a broken pen.”

1 comment:

  1. Is it ok that I'm happy to read this? I know it's a hideously painful trek, but I'm glad you're being pushed past "I can save people" (something anyone in ministry has to struggle past over and over), toward "only God can do this."

    The more I seek to live a life of ministry - of coming alongside others in the midst of broken lives - I'm convinced the only thing that changes anything is the presence of the Holy Spirit in me. So the only thing I really do for others is cultivate my relationship with God. Praying for the Lord to show you anew how to do just that in a way deep enough to sustain your calling....