My job as a counsellor is based on relationship, intimacy and trust. People share with me their inside worlds and I marvel at that kind of valor. I count it such an honour and a blessing to be invited into another’s private world. I have met some of the bravest people on the planet. I feel like God whispers in my ear, “Dana, I’m bringing someone to you today, who I’m crazy about. They are hurting and tired and I want you to speak love and hope into their life again.” I’m surprised how much God trusts me to do this. I often don’t trust myself. Sometimes I don’t feel up to the task. Again, God whispers soft into my ear, “You aren’t up to it but I am.”
Many of my people who come to me have endured the unthinkable and I wonder how it is they keep going. I am in awe that in spite of the odds they keep living and loving and hoping in a better tomorrow. My beautiful people teach me so much about endurance, perseverance, faith, strength and courage. They are my teachers, my role models, and my beacons of courageous strength. God trusts me to walk alongside of them through their winter seasons and in that process I learn what it’s like to endure abuse, neglect, death, suicide, depression and dream crushing life experiences—I’ve seen what life’s journey can do to people. I’ve mourned, cried, prayed and been silent with my people. I’ve celebrated with them over their victories and their daily acts of bravery to overcome and find beauty in the devastating places of their lives.
Our pastor shared a story with us last Sunday about a fire ripping through and destroying a farm, leaving nothing but devastation in its wake. As the farmer walked through the charred farmyard he noticed a rooster clamoring out of the wreckage. His body was severely damaged and his wing flopped lifelessly by his side. He limped and staggered to the top of the rubble and when he reached the highest point he stood valiantly and crowed in a new morning. Countless times I’ve witnessed those who have been bruised, battered and war torn climb to the top of the mountain of adversity and bring in a new day. They touch people with their loving kindness even when they have not been loved well. They parent with gentleness even though they were severely abused as a child. Instead of living out the dark versions of their stories, they allow their tragedies to be rewritten. They rise like a phoenix from the ashes and refuse to let the broken places of their lives have the final say in their life story. Pen in hand with a fresh blank page, they begin their new story! Love wins.