Personal

Forgiveness is for ordinary people.

Them. And us. That’s how we sometimes think about forgiveness, isn’t it? Jesus looked down from the cross and forgave his tormentors.  Pope John Paul II forgave his would-be assassin.  A father of a child killed in the Sandy Hook massacre offered forgiveness to the families of the killer within hours of the killings.  Mothers have been known to pardon the men who shot their sons. As a writer, I co...

It’s easier to ask for forgiveness.

Growing up, I was a pretty good kid. I was a relatively good student, surrounded myself with good people, and did my best to be a good friend to others. Some people might say this was a byproduct of good genes and others would probably claim this was due to good parenting. Whether you believe in nature or nurture, you can’t deny parenting (or lack thereof) plays a huge role in how we grow as adult...

Dear Suicidal Me

Dear Suicidal Me, Hi there. Remember me? I’m the one you worked so hard to maintain, the one you always wanted to be. All those hours at the gym, the yoga, the Psalms, the positive self talk when everything seemed wrong . . . But it failed. Because now you’re you. You look in the mirror and wish you could see a glimpse of me too. But you fail. You just see you. All those hours at counseling, the f...

Suicide’s impact is broad. And our understanding is narrow.

From the moment she walked into my classroom, I saw a little bit too much of myself in her. She was an introverted junior transfer, struggling to find a place for herself in a new school, in a new state. Over the course of the first semester, I got to know her through her writing and she frequented my classroom after school. While I have several former students who I remain close to, I normally tr...

I’m a Pastor and I Need Counseling

I walked in and there she was. A college student from the church I serve. I couldn’t turn around. I couldn’t un-commit. I could have lied about why I was there, but that’s not ethical (right?). I was caught red-handed—seeing my professional counselor. For the last decade or so, I’ve seen a professional counselor off-and-on. Sometimes, it’s been for no special reason. Other times, in the midst of a...

My First Trip to a Counselor

“You know there are people you can talk to about this, right?” My first instinct was to tell my mother, rather vehemently, that I was NOT crazy. I had a loving family, great friends, and a rock solid Christian faith. I was also 26, living in a small town with very few local friends, and spending the majority of my time working.  Overworking, really. I was definitely having a bit of a quarter life ...

When My Chest Caves In

Sometimes my chest caves in on itself. My lungs collapse. My ribs crush together with the force of two vehicles colliding, metal on metal screeching as it bends and breaks. My heart quivers and explodes. Instead of debris, I am left with a hole. I have anxiety. I am still not exactly sure what that means. Is my anxiety situational? Am I simply responding to the stress of “adulting”,  loss of a job...

Life Isn’t Fair

As I’ve got older I have become increasingly attached to the phrase ‘it is what it is’. Sometimes it’s said in recognition, sometimes in resignation. Usually it’s because something happened that’s outside my control; it may not be fair but there’s nothing I can do to change it. Why can’t life be fair? Life is fair in the movies. Life is fair with karma. Life is fair in the imaginary ideal of the w...

Purpose

What is the point of all this? Why am I here? This aspect of our humanity separates us from all other creatures. The answer to this deep, soul-searching quest is personal. No individual’s journey is the same when they seek to work through their own reality and circumstances. The answer, like most things in life, isn’t simple or one-dimensional. We will always encounter another layer or level as we...

Anxiety

Never been anxious? Please share your secret with humanity. Anxiety is a part of life for most people.  At some level, we’ve all probably felt anxious about something: finding love, affording life, a future without our loved ones, deadlines, change—the list goes on, endlessly! Anxiety is a complex issue that affects people in different forms and with different levels of severity. It can look like ...

Suicide

Suicide can be a heavy, challenging topic. If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, or if you have lost a friend or family member to suicide, you might feel wounded or scarred by the experience. You might feel restless when the topic is raised in conversation. If someone you love has committed suicide, you might also feel ashamed that he couldn’t face his problems, hurt that she left you behind, co...