Oh how soon men forget,
The road to ruin and regret,
But time and wisdom will prevail,
For the truth can never really fail.
It does not reside in vanity or calloused men,
Or in the hurried answers of a passionate pen.
It lives in the house of wisdom and beauty,
In questions devoted to honor and duty.
John W Berry *
April 8, 1985
When I was in high school and into college my friends and I would try, at the beginning of each new year, to challenge ourselves to read the entire Bible. We even had special Bibles that would divide it up for you into 365 sections to make it easier. Typically, I would only make it mid-way through Leviticus because I COULD NOT HANDLE the excruciatingly long lists of names that I couldn’t even begin to pronounce. I would start to feel like God was trying to kill me. That obviously wasn’t fair since he let all those people live to be like 400 years old, so I would quit.
I’ve quit a lot of other things in my life too. Jobs. Golf. My first marriage. Running. Smoking. Not drinking (yes, you read that correctly). Sewing a quilt for my nephew that I started before he was born (he’s now 5). Parenting (j/k – sort of). And therapy - many, many times.
As many of you know by now, I’ve been going to therapy for like ever. 15 plus years to be sort-of exact. I had been told several times that therapy was something I would probably need throughout my entire life.
Therapy is hard work. Probably the hardest next to reading the entire Bible within a year or even a lifetime. We can go ahead and add reading the Lord of the Rings to that list of impossibly hard things to do too.
I didn’t believe those real-life voices telling me this “idea” that therapy might be a life-long adventure because I thought that I was going to therapy to fix myself. So, I would go and then quit either because I was finally felt fixed or because I would get annoyed that I wasn’t yet fixed, so I didn’t see the point.
But there is one thing in my life I have committed to not quitting and it is this: to find myself. To know myself. This is because I fully believe that finding and knowing myself is finding and knowing God. It is not self-worship. It is honoring the very idea that I was created in God’s image. It is finding the prevailing wisdom, and the infallible truth that exists within me. It is learning to live in the house of wisdom and beauty.
Therapy is my path to that. For some it is Yoga. For others, it is meditation. For some, it truly is reading the entire Bible, multiple times. There are those that are able to find themselves in a church community. AA is at the top of some of my dear friends’ lists. For me I tend to need therapy the most, and a mix of a few (or a lot) of other things as well. Every other Monday at 4:30 you now know where to find me, but please don’t.
Life happens. Shit happens. And, it is in those moments of life or shit that I lose myself all over again and that losing often feels like a breaking. It often feels like I am broken again and that I need therapy to glue the pieces back together.
I am finally realizing that it isn’t about fixing. There is none of me that needs fixing. I’m not broken and never will be. That isn’t what therapy is about. What it is about is remembering that I’m always there, hence God is always there, s/he and I are just often buried under the rubble of life’s earthquakes. I just have to be willing to keep looking.
I am one who continually needs help with that looking part. And, just like the creators of those Bibles broken into 365 parts to make it easier, therapy makes my life easier. Preachers help many do the same. AA sponsors too. I don’t mean easier meaning that nothing affects me or that shit doesn’t continue to happen, because, well, that’s as much an unrealistic thought as my being able to ever really quit eating gluten or of my friends Jenny and Windy ever going camping with or without me. You can also just watch the news these days to know that life/shit doesn’t stop. It’s not about that. It’s about not forgetting that I’m still in there somewhere and God isn’t leaving and never has and never will.
Thanks for reading.
* John W. Berry is my birth father. This is an excerpt from a poem he wrote. I love the excerpt because it feels so relevant to today, not just in my personal life, but also in relationship to the world we are living in right now.
If this or any of the writing resonates with you, please consider signing up for updates. And, as always, feel free to share.