Many of us, Christians and Jews, celebrated Passover and Easter this past weekend.
I, personally, grew up in the Catholic Church, a tradition rich in the teachings of social justice. At Easter Mass, I listened as the celebrating priest gave his homily. I was deeply moved to hear him outline three attributes of what it means to be a Catholic. He noted that we do not shy away from, but rather, move into the darkness when we see it. In the darkness we offer understanding, empathy, comfort, and above all, hope. And we believe in transformation—the power for change.
As I listened to this outlined description of the essence of who we are as a community of faith, I was aware of the similarity between that and what we do as therapists. Indeed, we enter the darkness, we offer hope and we facilitate transformation. Over and over, we experience this process in our offices and consultation rooms with couples.
He also told a beautiful story of a Native American grandfather and his young granddaughter who were called off the reservation where they lived to downtown Phoenix where the grandfather had a meeting with the bank. The young girl was amazed at the high rise building they entered, the large marble foyer and the grandness of it all. He sat her down on a bench in front of three doors with the instruction “Don’t move until I get back”. The young girl sat quietly and watched the three doors. A very old, hunched man approached the first door, it opened, he went in and the door closed. A few minutes later, a very young, fit, vibrant man came out of the third door. “My goodness, look how quickly he went from very old, to very young!”, she thought. Next, a highly unattractive man entered the middle door. A few minutes later, the door opened and out walked a gorgeous, well-dressed woman. She thought, “These are very powerful doors”. This little girl fully believed in the power of transformation. And she had just been introduced for the first time, to the elevator.
That’s us. Human elevators. Sad, betrayed, disconnected, frightened people come in our doors and because of our willingness to face the darkness, offer hope and believe in the power of transformation, out come people who have grown clear, healed and connected.
Whatever tradition you hail from, whatever holidays you celebrate, I’m hoping that you believe in the power of transformation today and every day in the coming year.