Last night, I officially ended my counseling sessions with Lance. I thought I'd be crying a lot, but I think I got most of my tears out a month and a half ago at our previous session when I first articulated that I felt it was time to move on. But last night was more a night of remembering and reflecting. We talked about all the ways in which I have grown. Wow. Seriously amazing. Especially when I go back and read over my Xanga entries from 2004 - 2005. As Lance so aptly noted last night at the start of our session: "You were a mess!"
Amen! Truer words were never spoken! I used to think that you had to be pretty fucked up to have to go see a counselor. And then I realized, "I'm pretty fucked up!" So I went to see one. Last night, Lance recounted (from notes he took) that I said to him that I wasn't sure if he could handle my mess. He doesn't remember how he responded to me, but I told him that I'd never forget. He looked my right in the eyes and said "Darren, I would be shocked, if you could shock me." Those were exactly the words I needed to hear. Lance was the first of three counselors that had been referred to me by Exodus. But after he said that (and after discovering he actually knew who Brian McLaren was, and really liked some of his work), I knew this was the one for me, and I abandoned my intro meetings with the other two counselors. Lance and I connected pretty well, fairly quickly. Perhaps because we're both NFP's (of the Myers-Briggs variety) :)
But after my first year of therapy, I started thinking that things should end. And then I was there for two years. That's when I started to get really nervous. I always figured counseling would be a very temporary thing, ya know? After all, only really fucked up people need counseling for years! And then I realized, "I'm really fucked up!" And after awhile, I started to get comfortable with that concept: I'm not perfect, I don't have it all together, I have some major wounding, and I have a lot of stuff to work through.
I also started to get nervous around that time because Lance began to consistently bring up how closed I was to him. I kept thinking "What the hell is he talking about?! I've told this guy every single detail of my life! Everything from family shit, to sexual depravity!" And thus began the slow process of learning the profound difference between being open, and being vulnerable. To be sure, genuine healing takes place in being open, but the real heavy soul work is in the place of vulnerability. I still have trouble with that today. Let's face it, the world is a scary place, and there are a lot of people out there who don't deserve to have you heart. But as Lance shared incessantly (did I mention how patient this poor man is??), when you build walls to keep all the bad out, you keep all the good out with it.
Truth be told, I'm still a pretty messed up guy. I've still got a looooot of growing to do. But, I think it's the kind of growing that happens in the every-day-ness of experiential living. God's been really good to me, methinks. And Lance was one of the best gifts he's ever given. Thank you, Lance. I'll always remember you as my greatest, most reliable help in the darkest of dark days. You instructed me in the ways of the heart, and you faithfully walked with me as I learned how to live them out. You are a treasure. Look for me again beyond the horizon. I'm sure there's more darkness to beckon me in days to come, and I'll be running right back to you when it does :)