We walk into the small waiting area. There are four mismatched chairs, two garage sale end tables, one wth a 70’s style lamp and one laden with Time magazines. Some sort of bookcase is tucked into a corner with a boom box that’s playing classical music, resulting in the volume ring and falling. The placement of the future and the pictures on the walls are clearly not the work of a trained decorator. A plant sits by the window… it is a mirror reflection of how I’m feeling, extremely dry and two-thirds dead, struggling with depression.
A man opens the inner-office door and greets us warmly. He is short, very bald, dressed in a white shirt and a pair of pants that carry the marks of sitting for long periods of time. His shoes are black and I notice that his feet are small. He invites us into the inner office. It is obviously related to the outer office! It is first class thrift store quality; the walls dotted with pictures of sailboats. I am thankful that the artist chose bright colors.
He motions for us to sit which is the first awkward moment of our time together. After playing a brief game of musical chairs we all find our place. Dr. Puffinnoggin* leads the way by choosing his favorite chair situated in the corner, I choose the comfy rocker separated from Dr. Puff…. by a small table adorned with a lamp and a box of Kleenex. The tissue box clearly drew me in. John is left to close between the desk chair, which is facing away from us, or the large, overstuffed couch lining the wall across from us. He reluctantly, albeit wisely, chooses the couch.
Dr. ….noggin breaks the silence by giving us a short autobiography and asks for the same from us. “What brings you to my office today and how can I help?” Since he can plainly see the black cloud over our heads, I’m surprised that he doesn’t already know. While reaching for the strategically placed box of tissue, I pour out a recital of pain. John follows me with his own interpretation, minus the floodwaters. As we wind down, the good doctor takes a moment to collect his thought, adds something to his short masterpiece of notes, and echoes our sentiments in the form of an outline and offers a treatment plan. I am both impressed and disturbed by the act that my overture has been reduced to a page on a yellow tablet.
Now, avoiding direct eye contact with my ugly cry face, he makes his way to his appointment book and schedules our next meeting time. He jots down a note on a sticky pad to ‘buy more Kleenex.’ Drained, we make our exit, strangely relieved by the fact that someone completely uninvolved is now involved. We continue to work under the guidance of Dr. Puffinnoggin for several more sessions. Thank God that His Spirit is with us in this process.
Several visits later I notice that the two-thirds dead plant has been removed. Significant, I think.
“Counsel: to advise, advocate, exhort, recommend, suggest, urge.” (Oxford Dictionary) I recommend counseling.
“Be merciful to me, God; be merciful to me because I come to you for protection. Let me hide under the shadow of your wings unit the trouble has passed.” (Psalms 57:11).
*The name has been changed.