Monday, April 28, 2008

unexpected places

Appointments to come see me professionally are sometimes occasions that people approach reluctantly, even fearfully. There are those sent to me because their children have been taken from their custody -- or because they're an adolescent whose behaviors have escalated to the point that they've been taken from their homes and put into state custody. And even some of those who come in voluntarily often have a bit of trepidation, I find -- a kind of fear of being exposed, rejected, blamed, or of being found deficient.

I've been thinking of this because several good blogs that I read have been reminding me lately that God is to be found in unexpected places -- among the poor, among the needy, among the disfavored. And I've been struck by this because it challenges me to find God amidst the often terrible chaos and dysfunction I work with -- but also because I think there is a challenge here to make grace present to people in their "unexpected places."

I am sometimes obligated to tell people that I do not believe they're ready to have their children return to their custody. I am sometimes obligated to inform people that they suffer from a mental illness that will likely impact them for the rest of their lives. I am sometimes obligated to give feedback that utterly contradicts the way they see themselves and their world.

And my challenge, it seems, is to find some sort of grace for them amidst these situations -- to join them in examining the darkest and most painful areas of their lives, and to leave them with some greater sense of being understood, of compassion, or insight on something that has always puzzled them.

Anyway, mostly I wanted to send this out as a way of saying thank you to my friends and fellow bloggers who've gotten me thinking about all this -- more cows, diane, katherine, mags, gannet girl. Thank you.


more cows than people said...

You're welcome, Steve, though I'm not sure how my blogging has done this of late.

And I am confident that you bear much grace to people in their unexpected places.

Katherine E. said...

Yes, I've no doubt that people who come to see you receive a great blessing, Steve.