For one of my courses in Grad-school I had to write a 20 page paper about significant events in my life, and how those events will influence my future counseling. Thought I might as well share it with you in bits and pieces; one event at a time. Enjoy.
Diseased & Dadless
For not having a clear recollection of it, 1985 was quite a significant year for me. I was two years old and my parents could tell there was something off about my developmental progress. I seemed to be eating all the time, but not gaining any weight, always sleeping but never energetic. When the testing was finished and the results came back, our realities changed forever. I had Cystic Fibrosis.
At a time when doctors knew very little about the disease, being diagnosed with this genetic lung disorder may as well have been a death sentence. In fact, that’s pretty much how they presented it to my parents. No longer was there a normal expectation for me to grow up with endless possibilities for my future, but a warning that I may not make it to be even four years old. Now maybe it was the stress of having a sick child, or perhaps the end of my parents’ marriage would have come anyway, but 1985 was also the year of my parents’ divorce, and the last time I would ever see my birthfather.
One would think these events would have little effect on me now, especially since I myself don’t remember a single second of it. It’s not as though I feel a sense of loss. I don’t know a life without disease. I don’t know a life with my birthfather. There is no other reality for me. Still, the events of 1985 laid the foundation for everything I am today, and have often colored the lens through which I view the world.
Affects on Counseling
As far as counseling goes, the biggest thing these events do for me is help me relate to clients. I am sure there will be a million things clients deal with that I will not be able to sympathize with, but the things I can sympathize with are fear, humility, abandonment, physical and emotional weakness, anger, and questioning God. The Lord has often revealed His faithfulness in my life through this disease, and despite my father being gone. It is my prayer that the Lord would use these things in my life to show His faithfulness to others as well.