September 2017

September 2017

MY people... I AM understanding
(Isaiah 40-55 passim & Proverbs 8.14 AV)

Wisdom is one of the key attributes of the Divine. This is recognised widely in the biblical writings and in the contemporary thinking of other nations, notably ancient Egypt with its concept of Maat. The AV translation does justice to the link between Divine Wisdom and the beautiful human gift of empathy - feeling with and giving support to a fellow human...  almost literally under-standing or standing under them in times of need or distress. This is more important than any other kind of aid, help, or counselling that may be on offer.

There is a lovely story that illustrates this. A mother asks her son: What is the most important part of the body? After a moment's thought he replies: Ears. But his mother points out that, in spite of their handicap, deaf people manage very well. Some weeks later she repeats the question. Having had time to think it over, the boy says: I know; eyes are the most important. Once again his mother asks him to think again, because blind people somehow cope with their disability remarkably well.

Months pass by, and the boy's grandfather dies. Everyone is sad and some are weeping. In the midst of the sorrow, the boy is astounded when his mother poses the question once again: What is the most important part of the body? The boy is confused and cannot reply; he just shakes his head. His mother says: This is the time when you can begin to understand that your shoulders are the most important part of your body. Sooner or later, everyone needs a shoulder to cry on. My prayer for you is that you will always have some loving friend or relative who will provide you with a shoulder to cry on when you need it, and that you will always be ready to let others cry on your shoulder when others are similarly in need.

Whenever I find myself in a counselling situation, I recall that the dynamic is not one-to-one: it is a three-way process, a triangular set-up, involving self-client-God. Before we begin, I call to mind the Saying I AM understanding: and as the interview proceeds I try to remain mindful of it, and of the Lord I AM, who knows us both better than we know ourselves, pouring out his love and wisdom.