God gave me a book on Saturday. I wasn’t looking for it. I went into the thrift store and aimlessly browsed, I chose the book (and a few others, too) after briefly flipping through it. I started reading it at home and instantly I was mentally thanking and praising God and underlining everything with a nice sharp pencil….this book is solidifies some important things I’ve been thinking about in regards to kinship, belonging, and organized church. At just at the right time, God gave me more words, more ideas, and in the form of a book (He knows how I love to read because He made me). (I payed one dollar for five books and a little box for Grace). So this book cost me about 20 cents. I love it, I love how He operates.
An acquaintance of mine tried to commit suicide. What he did should have killed him, but he survived. I was asked to help. For more than six months I worked with this man in therapy. Even now I recall the session-I think it was the tenth-where I came up with an insight that put so much of his pain into new perspective. I remember him saying, “How on earth did you figure that out?” I humbly shrugged and said, “Hope it helps.”
In the middle of our work together, I happened one spring day to be driving through the local college campus and saw my depressed client sitting on the grass with a friend. They were laughing. I’m not clear why, but I felt a strong desire to join their good time.
Every reason why I shouldn’t join them ran instantly through my head–too much to do, it would be awkward, even unprofessional, to socialize with a client–but the words of my friends over breakfast came back to me. Was I afraid to just be with this man, to take off the Dr. Crabb white coat, to stop being an expert, and offer myself as a person?
On an impulse, I stopped my car, walked over to where they were sitting, their backs toward me. When I got close, they heard my footsteps, and turned. I greeted them both, then said to my client, “How are you?”
Picture what it would be like to have your therapist, while you’re in the middle of treatment for suicidal depression, walk up to you in a casual setting and ask, “How are you?”
He wrinkled his face into serious expression, coughed a few times, then said, “Well, maybe a little better. Still really worried about…..”
I interruped. “I don’t mean, ‘How are you doing with your struggles:’ I’m just sociably asking how you’re doing.”
He replied, “You mean, like, ‘Fine, thanks’?”
“In that case, fine, thanks. Can you join us?”
“Sure I’ve got some time.”
For the next thirty minutes I didn’t say one intelligent thing. I just enjoyed two friends.
Three years later I met him for coffee during a trip to the town where he was then living. He was doing well. At one point in our conversation he thanked me for my influence on his life. I asked what he remembered that had helped the most. There was no hesitation.
“It was that half hour you sat on the grass with me and my friend and just chatted.” He was warmly smiling.
I was indignant. “Don’t you recall that life-changing insight I came up with in the tenth session of therapy?”
“Uh, no, I don’t. Can you refresh me?”
I believe that the work we did in therapy was important. But I also believe that the time I most clearly led with my heart rather than my head was the time of greatest power.
page 35 of Connecting, by Larry Crabb