Happy There

I meet with my counselor. He’s the pastor of a four-hundred-plus college ministry and one of the most Spirit-led men I know. For him to even make time for me is ridiculous.

I walk in and he’s on hold with an airline over the office speaker phone. He’s on his cell phone too, an urgent call. There’s a roll of one-hundred dollar bills on his desk. I don’t ask. He’s looking through his drawers for something. He tells me he’s so sorry to be distracted. As a pastor who just suffered a breakdown from anxiety, I totally understand.

I needed his counsel because soon I’d be in a meeting to re-negotiate how I do the ministry. But I was nervous: I wanted to be humble with them while authoritative, demanding yet firm. I was also afraid that I’d be rejected, shot down, or fired.

While my counselor rummaged through his drawers, I shared my fears. The airline music was playing in the background. I must have said “What if” a dozen times. Suddenly he stopped, slammed the drawer shut, smiled, and looked right at me.

“You know, Joon, do me a favor. Will you stop being such a sh_tless wonder? I’ve been dealing with death all morning in and out of hospitals and funerals and I can’t find my wallet which has everything in it and you’re scared to be yourself. If you can’t say what you want to them, maybe that’s not the right place for you. Shouldn’t you just be happy there?”

He apologized for being so short with me. The airline person came on. He took the call and went right back to looking for his wallet.

We talked some more. He walked me out and hugged me and told me he loved me. He asked me to pray about his wallet. I got in my car and prayed.

“I’ve been dealing with death all morning . . . Shouldn’t you just be happy there?”

Of course, he was right.

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