My heart has been ripped right of my body this week. It has been taken out by force, placed on a hard surface and stomped on. I suppose I really should explain. I am doing my second year residency this week for my master’s degree in mental health counseling. (I know…what kind of nutcase goes back to school at age 51.) But here I am taking a course this summer in counseling children and adolescents. The written coursework was great. We learned how to apply the various theories of counseling in our work with younger clients. I wrote up a storm for this class. I can apply those theories in a word document like you can’t imagine.
But little did I know that the professor for this course is one of the most gifted counselors for children I have ever encountered? She is highly competent. And her passion for serving children inspires me in ways I cannot possibly express. But there are dangers in taking a course like this from such a gifted professor! She has chosen to drag us to into her world. And the consequences may never be reversed.
We have spent our afternoons this week at a residential care facility for children who have been neglected and abused. Each student has been assigned one child to work with for the week. My child is a little 8 year boy, who came from a horrendous home situation, prior to being placed at the facility where we are serving.
Each day I get to hear about the interactions my fellow students are having with the children that been assigned to them for the week. And each day my heart breaks a little more. The things these precious children have seen….The emotions they are carrying… The void of basic care that has gone in their young lives. Children that have been forced to stay in hot garages. Children that had no clue when they would get to eat again. I heard some stories today that finally sent me completely over the edge. My heart literally broke. I didn’t know whether I wanted to hit someone or weep. And then the words of another wise professor rang through my head…
I recall this professor telling his students in a spiritual formation class a number of years ago that we are not effective as God’s servants until our hearts have been broken. He required his students to do a ride-a-along with a police officer on the night shift for that expressed purpose. He wanted his students to be exposed to the human condition in raw form, so their hearts might be broken…He wanted them to be servants that might make a difference in a broken world.
Dr. Robinson has exposed us to her counseling world. A world where children experience unspeakable trauma. And she has shared her own heart with us along the way. It would be so much easier to stick to the theories and the books that explain such ideas. Life would be a lot simpler if we just functioned in our little neat and tidy theoretical world. My heart would still be intact. But if the truth be known, I want to make a difference. At age 53, it’s time for my heart be broken in ways it never has been before. I really do want an effective servant, so I am grateful to Dr. Robinson for dragging me into her world. The consequences will indeed never be reversed. And for that I am thankful.