Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Alternative Trinity

I'm a big fan of the Trinity: One God, Three Expressions- Father, Son and Holy Spirit- Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier- Our Source, Our Brother, Our Sustenance. (The links go to previous Trinitarian love blog posts.)

I believe the Trinity is how God has chosen to make Godself and power know in the world. However, there are other things I believe to be true and worthwhile. In particular, I believe in the holiness of bodies, in backing up your computer and in counseling (talking to someone). This has the potential to be a series, but I'm going to try to be brief this time.

1. The Holiness of Bodies- I believe that our bodies are a gift from God and that we are unable to accomplish the work God intends us to do without them. This is why taking care of our physical being is spiritually important. If God's work within us for Christ's sake could be accomplished through the power of thinking alone, then we wouldn't need a physical presence. However, God created a physical world, creatures with bodies and even came among us IN A BODY so that we might understand our call as participants in creation, shapers of this kingdom and our role as "bestowers" of God's blessings.  You may not have a full complement of limbs or working limbs. You might not run quickly or speak well or be ruddy and handsome, but God is still able to use you. To deny that or to degrade (through action or word) the gift of the body is to doubt God's own abilities in through the Spirit.

2. Backing up your computer: I've nearly lost my hard drive twice. Once in an unexpected computer expiration and once in a hard drive failure. The first time, magic computer elves rescued my files. The second time, I took my little hard drive, plugged it in to my external hard drive and the only things lost were 4 days of email (which were saved to the cloud!). I back my computer up to an external hard drive twice a week and I'm alway surprised when I hear people say that they've never backed up their files. It's one of those "I know I should, but..." (If you don't know how, go buy and external hard drive and I'll come to your house and show you. I promise. Or I'll show you via Skype if you don't live in the Anchorage area.)

There are many things in that "I know I should, but..." category: exercise (see above), making a will (or dealing with other legal matters), creating a budget, talking about issues that are going unspoken... They're all hard to do, but going ahead and doing them gives a freedom from fear that is only rivaled by the freedom we have in Christ. It does take time to review your insurance paperwork, have the conversation, plug in the external hard drive, but none of these things take as long as we think they will. Furthermore, none of them take as long as replacing files, lamenting lost items, fixing something without insurance or waiting out the probate court. Back it on up, baby!

3. Counseling. The following is a quote from the book, Rage Against the Meshugenah, by Danny Evans.

Depression= crazy. Crazy= people who mutter angrily to themselves, people who see things that aren’t really there, people who try to kill themselves. Crazy doesn’t = me. I’m married + I have a son + I have a college degree, for Pete’s sake! These things > crazy. Crazy most certainly does not = me.

When I recommend seeing a counselor more qualified than myself to someone I've talked to about the same issue more than 3 times, this is the response I usually get. They can't see themselves lying on a couch talking about their mother. (You don't do that on your first visit!) Talking to a professional is a great way to make links to situations in your life, to figure out some of your behavior patterns, to discuss thoughts or feelings or reactions around major life changes. Not every down feeling is depression. Not everyone benefits from talking things out, but many, many, many people (including me) do. Additionally, you may have to re-visit counseling more than once in your life. You don't expect what worked for you physically or emotionally at 20 to keep working when you're 35 or 40 or 65. You change and grow and how you think does as well. And, yes, you may have to revisit the same thing more than once. I've had short-term counseling (6 months to 1 year) 3 times in my life and it's been transformative for me each time. Though some of the same issues were covered, I had changed and needed to think things through again. Each time was with a different counselor because I lived in a different location. 

I usually give myself the talk above when I start thinking I should see someone. Then I berate myself for not being able to solve my depression/ anxiety/ sadness/ frustrations on my own. And then, finally, I make some calls, go on the first visit and wonder why the heck I didn't do this sooner. 

The Holy Trinity gets us into life, carries us through it and receives us into the next. However, there are additional blessings from God that make our present life more real, more enjoyable and more connected. Without a body, back ups, and counseling, I wouldn't be where I am today, enjoying the life that God, +lifeboat, wind and waves+, has gifted me.  


Mary Beth said...

If there's ever a contest to be your biggest fan, I will win.

LoieJ said...

Good thought here. About counseling: it is scary to go to a new person, which is probably what will happen if a person doesn't go all the time, and who can afford that? I've gone to 4 people at different times. The first guy, well, I would feel like crap when I left. The second person was diagnosing me and my family members after talking to me for 30 minutes. Done with her after a few plan to help, just diagnosis. The third guy was great, and he took several visits before he came to any conclusions, which seems realistic. And he spoke to me in visual metaphors, which I liked (and I like in sermons.) Then he retired, so I saw his partner, who also was helpful, but wouldn't have been if I had gone there before the third guy. So you never know. And when you have a bad one, going again is even harder.

Pastor Julia said...

Dear PS- you're absolutely right. Finding a counselor is very difficult and it's the kind of work that's tough to do when you are in the midst of other heavy emotional work. I usually try to keep a file so that I can make recommendations to people, but not everyone clicks. And cost is always an issue. I'm glad you did find someone who worked for you.