People often ask me why I went into therapy. Because for many people, the profession doesn’t make sense. I often hear questions like,
“Isn’t it depressing?
Don’t you get so frustrated?
Don’t you have trouble leaving other people’s problems at the office?
Isn’t your own life stressful enough?”
And I suppose if you want the honest answer, at times the answer to all of these things can be yes.
BUT as a general rule, I would say no.
Normally, I leave my therapy office feeling in deep admiration of the person sitting in the chair across from me.
Normally, I see the hope of humanity in the actions of my clients or the changes they make.
Normally, I delight in seeing the different ways God makes us and uses His creation for a variety of purposes.
But yes, sometimes the session are hard.
And I happened to have one last night.
Sessions like it have happened a hundred times. But every time it happens, I am humbled just the same.
I am sitting in my therapy chair looking at my client sitting on the couch across from me. And in that moment, they are in some state of utter desperation. They are sad or overwhelmed or angry about what life is throwing at them. They may be looking at me or they may be looking away, but at that moment, I no longer see my client.
Instead, I see a human.
Just like me.
Right in front of me.
A human who is hurting. A human that God has allowed my life to intertwine with to see if some kind of growth or healing can occur. A human that in that moment is allowing me the privilege of seeing their vulnerability.
And normally their vulnerability is stemming from one singular desire. To find love. And be loved. Love from their family. A friend. A significant other. Love for themself.
And the saddest part is, many times they will look up and say, “I have no one. Will anyone ever love me? Why does this always happen to me?”
And to be blatantly honest. Moments like those are the reason I am a therapist.
The other night after a long day at the office, I was feeling in need of some love myself. But I knew I needed to get home and get my babies in bed since Joe was gone out of town and it was already 8 at night.
When I walked in the door, I was greeted by my sweet sister and sons. After my sister left, I began the normal bedtime routine that seems to take forever in our house. I started with Christian, the easiest.
While I was putting his pajamas on, he did something he’s never done. He stopped while I was trying to put his shirt on and grabbed my neck and hugged me. And while he is always vocal about his feelings and a rather affectionate dude, something about his little embrace was different that night.
He held me really tight and softly said, “Mommy, I love you.” And while he would normally say this and let go and look back and smile at me, he didn’t. Instead, he just kept his head on my shoulder and arms around my neck.
And in that moment, I really felt Christian’s love for me in one of the strongest ways I have ever felt it.
Once he was finished, I moved on to Paxton. And as many of you know, since switching to a toddler bed, Paxton’s desire to stay in bed has lessened. So our solution to streamlining the process is sitting in the rocking chair while he falls asleep. Not the best method for speed, but it gets the job done without fits and resistance. So we do it. And with Guy, he stays in his bed and falls asleep. And with grandparents. And my sister.
But not with me.
With me, he has a different habit.
He comes and sleeps on the floor next to me.
And that is what he did that night. Except that evening, he actually fell asleep on my feet. And as I was looking down at him, I felt very overwhelmed by his love. Feet aren’t glamorous. And they certainly aren’t soft. But that night, he chose my swollen pregnant feet over his soft pillow just because it meant he could be closer to me.
After I escaped from the nursery and got my pajamas on and climbed into my own bed after turning off the lights, I heard our dog stand up and walk over to me. I thought he was going to signal that he needed something. But he didn’t. He just curled up in a ball on the floor under my arm and went to sleep.
At that moment, I said a simple prayer.
Thank you, God. I get it. You love me. And you showed your love for me through them.
So what compels my dog and two sons to love me? I don’t exactly know. (Guy would say I get them hooked to me with the breastfeeding and they never look back. :)
But seriously, what is it?
We know they see all sides of me. Good, bad and ugly. Yet still, they feel compelled to be near me. And love me. I wonder if they can sense that I am madly and deeply in love with them?
Do you think they are aware that I snap their photo 10 times a day?
Do you think they sense that I think about 90 percent of the things they do are adorable and cute?
Do you think they know that their father and I could sit around talking about them for hours?
Do you think they know that nothing scares me more than losing them?
I think they might have a sense of that. And I think that makes it easy for them to think I’m amazing. Because they day in and day out get to feel my love for them. And they see it. And that allows them to love in return without fear.
So, how does this all apply to my clients and why I love my job? Well, here’s how.
I feel like I know the secret they don’t know. I know that they do have a father who is madly in love with them. A father, who just like me with my boys, delights in them for being them. I know that Jesus, just like me with my children, loves them from head to toe.
If he had a camera, he would take a 1,000 pictures of them in a day.
He watches them and smiles with pride. Not because they are necessarily doing anything special but just because he loves them so much.
He looks at their faces and thinks, “That is the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen.”
He watches them do something new or old and think, “Wow, I am so amazed. He/She is so great at that.”
He fears them being hurt.
He desires nothing more than to be with them.
His love for them is so, so, so, so deep.
And his deep love for them is why I love those desperate moments with my clients.
Not because I want them to feel sad. But instead because I can confidently look at them and say. “You are lovable. Someone is already madly in love with you.”
And I don’t have to doubt it.
But I don’t.
And I get to hold the hope for them while they work to believe it.
And I get the feeling that if they had even the faintest grasp of how loved they already are, they would stop their wild searches for love in all the wrong places and stop making decisions out of desperation. And just accept it.
Because when you know you are loved, everything changes.
You can love without fear.
You can love yourself.
You can wait for love from others to be right.
You can see the beauty in things that you might otherwise miss.
You might even find yourself falling asleep on the feet of Jesus because when you have love even feet seem better than your bed.
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