A few years ago, in what seemed a different life, I had an experience that deeply impacted me and shaped much of how I viewed myself in relation to the people I encounter. The catalyst at the time was viewing the movie Silver Linings Playbook.
In a nutshell, I experienced a visceral reaction while watching that told me much about myself. A pattern throughout my life was illuminated, and I saw an affinity–or even a pull–toward those who experienced not only marginalization by society’s expectations but also alienation from themselves within their own hearts and minds.
At the time, I heard the call to love those who fit that description, but I didn’t have a clear sense of how to answer the call. I had recently abandoned the course I had been following for nearly a decade in pursuing professional ministry. I had dived into an endeavor in intentional community and was in the middle of that effort, but it still didn’t offer much clarity about this particular revelation.
The most obvious connection would have been to become a counselor, but having recently finished a master’s degree I didn’t think I would be using, the thought of beginning another degree didn’t seem realistic. The question was left largely unresolved.
Fast forward to present day, and I realize I have been working toward actualizing the call. The melody played to my soul that day left a mark, and I have learned the steps slowly. I began working in a group home, and then as a parenting consultant in a social work setting, and now I am nearing the end of my first semester of a counseling degree. It took a while, but I got there.
What brings this all to mind again for me right now is that one of my assignments was to watch this very movie with the eyes of a counselor-in-training. I found myself immersed in some of the same feelings, along with some new ones, and certainly a sense of purpose that eluded me the last time.
No new real insights hit me, but I feel I am finally in the right place and heading in the right direction. I praise God for not giving up on me and guiding me to where I can serve. I am excited to continue learning how to serve with more skill and to connect more deeply. I want to give the gift of love and be an agent of healing. These are the things that call to my soul, that lead me to dance with God and his children.
I still think the thoughts worthwhile I expressed in my original post. I invite you to check it out here:
The margins of life are the places to pause and view the whole picture. The margins of the page are the empty useless space on the edge. The margins are the space we leave only to ensure the important parts don’t get left out or messed up. The margins are the wasted places whose only purpose is to give dignity to the places with value. The margins of a book are where we write our insights. The margins of society are where the poor, the outcasts, and the forsaken live. The margins of society are where we find useless and wasted lives. The margins of society are where Jesus lives. The margins are where heaven and hell overlap, and God meets us there.