In the first episode of the fifth series of the British TV show Doctor Who, the main character, the Doctor, reunites with one his friends, Amy Pond. This is the scolding she gives him for his too-long absence:
Amy Pond: Twelve years!
The Doctor: You hit me with a cricket bat!
Amy Pond: Ha! Twelve years!
The Doctor: A cricket bat!
Amy Pond: Twelve years, and four psychiatrists!
The Doctor: Four?
Amy Pond: I kept biting them!
The Doctor: Why?
Amy Pond: They said you weren’t real.
The Doctor’s twelve year absence left scars on Amy, scars that led her parents to believe she had serious issues. She bounced from psychiatrist to psychiatrist, but none of them were able to help her because she was irrevocably convinced of the Doctor’s existence. When anyone dared to question his existence, she did the only reasonable thing: She bit them.
Amy’s scars weren’t as bad as her parents and psychiatrists believed because the Doctor actually was real. She really had met him, and he really did come back for her. She wasn’t crazy. But she was scarred.
Amy was scarred because she put her hope in someone and that someone let her down. Broke a promise. Abandoned her.
Those are issues enough to cause a person to need counseling.
Life is scary and scaring. Sometimes life takes you through childhood and adolescence and leaves more scars than unblemished skin. And sometimes, when that happens, you don’t even realize it has happened. You spend years denying anything is wrong, you’re not scarred.
And then one day you wake up and realize, “Oh my word. I’m broken.”
I’ve been in one-on-one counseling for three years solid, with another year and a half of group therapy before that. I haven’t bitten any of my counselors (yet), but there have definitely been times when they have told me things I didn’t want to hear. I have been blessed beyond belief to have a counselor who is wise enough to recognize when I am and am not ready to deal with certain issues. She recognized anger issues in me the first time we met, but was willing to work with me for two years before I was ready to start dealing with the anger issues. I wasn’t ready. She recognized relationship dysfunction from the first time we met, but worked with me for two and a half years (past the end of the relationship, I might add) before I was ready to deal the dysfunction. I wasn’t ready.
I tried to start reading Toxic Faith by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton yesterday. I thought I was ready to start intentionally dealing with my church issues. I was excited about it.
I was wrong. I’m just not ready.
Maybe next year?