Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Wages of Death is Sin

Another morning two new people joined the table at therapy. As we got started, as usual, the therapist had us go around the table, introduce ourselves, and share our diagnosis. When it got to the new young man, he said, "My name is Roy and I suffer from depression." He leaned back in his chair, "And, I'm suicidal." I wasn't sure that was a diagnosis but obviously he had no problem sharing it with the world.

Soon it got to the other new arrival, an older lady sitting across the table. She reminded me of a church lady - the kind dressed for Sunday-go-to-meeting, wearing everything but the hat and gloves. Chances were the gloves were in the purse beside her chair that matched her sensible shoes. "I'm Estelle, and they say I have anger issues and depression." (And obviously must be in denial.)

The therapist thanked everyone and started the session. The theme of the day was dreams - what we dreamed of doing, who we dreamed of spending time with, and such. He asked us what we dreamed of. The idea being, if we had something to work towards it may help us in our recovery.

"Dreams" that were shared included starting a business, starting to date again, getting a dog, buying a house, driving a motorcycle across country. Then Roy spoke up, "Killing myself." The room went quiet and all eyes turned toward Roy.

The therapist asked,"Roy, why is that your dream?"

"Because it is the one thing I really want to do."

At that point the session turned into an intervention. 10 minutes or so into this, Estelle spoke up, "Roy, according to the bible, taking one's own life is a sin." Roy did not say anything.

"It says so in the Bible - Ecclesiastes 7:17 - 'Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?' 

Don't you read the Bible and go to church?"

Roy looked at Estelle, "No, I don't go to church," he said sharply and rolled his eyes.

I would have thought Estelle to be the compassionate and caring kind. But I was wrong. Estelle was loaded for bear.This sweet church lady leaned on the table, in a stern voice said, "So I guess you haven't accepted the Lord as your savior?"

Before Roy could say anything, the therapist spoke up. "We don't discuss religion here unless the client brings it up. Estelle, we all want to help Roy, but right now let's leave our comments secular."

Estelle sat back and under her breath I heard her say, "Humh, God said killing yourself is a sin. It's a sin."

Roy left with the therapist and (I assume) was taken to meet his doctor. We all just sat there. John, who could be a smart ass, spoke up, "Estelle, if someone doesn't believe in God and wants to kill themselves, I don't think they are concerned about whether or not it is a 'sin'."

"But that poor child needs to accept the Lord," Estelle retorted.

"And, the Lord is going to keep Roy from killing himself?"

Ruth interrupted, "Estelle, no disrespect, I'm a Christian, I go to church, and yes, I have accepted the Lord, but so far he hasn't saved me from all my problems." She smiled, "But I don't expect him to solve all of them. And, like most of us, I know I sin."

Well, I thought, this was turning into an evangelical debate. So much for keeping things secular.

John spoke again,"Estelle, yes, the Bible says taking one's life is a sin. But so is stealing, lying, taking the Lord's name in vain, and coveting another's wife. And I cannot speak for anyone else here but I have committed more than one of these sins. Even if I had accepted Christ, my actions are up to me. I doubt God would have intervened on my behalf."

Estelle replied,"Well, if Roy went to church, Jesus would save him."

I knew what was coming next . . . and I was not disappointed. From the end of the table, George spoke up, "Estelle, he doesn't have to go to church. On Wednesday night, if he goes to channel 18, Jesus will talk to him."

John ran with it, "That's it. Why didn't I think of that? He can have a direct line."

Estelle was confused. "Y'all make no sense. In fact you are not right in the head."

John smiled, "Yep. Why else would we be here? For the free Pizza on Friday?"

Thank goodness at that point the therapist walked back in. Everything got quiet. "Now where were we? Dreams, what other dreams does anyone have?"

Estelle answered, "I don't know about dreams, but being here is a nightmare. I'm in the wrong place. You all have serious issues. My only problem is with my Doctor and my children who think I need help."

The therapist looked at her. She continued,"This is a group of rude heathens with no respect for the Lord." With that she stood up, put her purse on her arm and crossed her wrists. All I could see was Dan Carvey on SNL. "Humh, telling me you can speak to Jesus on some channel on TV."

The therapist stood up, "Estelle, if this  is not the right group for you, let's get your counselor and find a more suitable group." He gently took her elbow and with that they walked out. When he returned, he laughed, "Lord knows this has been one heck of a Monday."

John spoke up, "Remember, we need to keep this secular."

Margaret added, "Maybe we could use some Devine Intervention."

Everyone at the table turned her way with a collective look of "Seriously?" She paused, "Or not." 

No comments:

Post a Comment