Sidney sat at his desk finishing up the notes on his last patient. After making the final entry, he leaned back in his chair and visibly shrunk into its plush recesses. He wasn’t sure what he was doing anymore. For nearly twenty years Sidney had been counseling individuals; helping them work through childhood issues, problems at work, with their finances and in their relationships. Today, it seemed, something had snapped inside.
The woman, diagnosed as bi-polar, was one of his regulars. Week after week Susan sat in his office, pouring out to him the same problems over and over. Basically, her entire life, and all it’s incumbent dilemmas, boiled down to one issue: Relationship. She didn’t have a real relationship with a single person in her life.
She felt unloved, unneeded, unwanted and totally worthless. As a consequence every cross word, every raised eyebrow, and every normal family disagreement ended up with her an emotional wreck. Today she sat in his office, crying hysterically over the fact that a co-worker had corrected a mistake she made.
Sidney had had enough. Putting down his pen and notebook on the desk, he removed his glasses, delicately holding the frames in his folded hands, and addressed her earnestly. “Susan, may I be direct with you?”
Taken aback by the abruptness of the question (which had interrupted a lengthy description of the recent work incident), Susan managed to stammer an affirmative.
Placing his glasses on his desk next to his notebook, Sidney leaned across the desk towards his troubled patient. “Susan, I’m going to do you a big favor and eliminate any further need for therapy.”
There was an audible gasp. “But Doctor…”
Before she could continue, Sidney plunged ahead. “Your problem, Susan, is not that people are insensitive, mean or uncaring towards you. Your problem is that you have no solid foundation in your life. Nobody with whom you’ve made a real commitment to or with.”
“I’ve tried, Doctor, but I always get rejected.”
“No, Susan, what you’ve tried to do, over and over, is imitate relationships you’ve seen on TV or in other people, but you have never, as long as I’ve known you, tried to have anything real with anybody.”
“Of course I have!” Indignity burst from her like water from a balloon.
“No, you have not. Now listen to me, please. You once told me you were a Christian, yes?”
“Well, yes. I was saved as a teen.”
“But, you never followed up on it and you aren’t currently active in a church?”
“It’s okay, Susan, I’m not judging, just establishing the facts. Here is what I suggest: Find yourself a church. Not a flaky cult, but a real, bible teaching, God centered church. Go there, not to make friends; not to find support for all of your problems; not to get anything for your own gratification. Instead go there to find God and develop a personal relationship with Him. This is the one relationship that will never fail you, Susan. Make it the foundation of your life, and all of these other things, that disturb you so frequently, will seem insignificant in the future. There is nothing permanent, except God. All of your problems will fade in months, years, or decades, but God is eternal. Best of all, He seeks a relationship with you.”
“Find a church, seek Him out, become a disciple and, in time, you will find yourself being a support to people in distress, instead of needing the support of others.”
Susan had left his office in obvious confusion, but promising to take his advice and search for a home church. She was somewhat distressed when he refused to set another appointment with her, saying only that they would “see how things went”.
Sidney now reflected over what he’d done. Nothing else had worked for her, and, while God was not supposed to be a last resort, Sidney had felt there was nothing left he could do for Susan. He'd begun to feel like Lucy from The Peanuts, handing out 5 cent advice. The one who created the perfect plan for man’s salvation was the only one who could effect any real change in her life.
The intercom on Sidney’s phone beeped arrogantly at him.
“Dr. Coleman? Mr. Tipton is here for his appointment.”
Lifting his eyes heavenward, Sidney said a silent prayer.
"Lord, I hope you‘ve got plenty of good churches nearby."
That‘ll be 5 cents please.
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