A new creation

George Johnston

A New Man

This world is full of mirrors. No, seriously, we all have them. They are those small rectangular things we call smart phones. We see our world reflected in an endless stream of images and videos. Park this thought for we will come back to it later. For now I would like you to meet Phil.

Phil is in his fifties and sits across from me telling me what makes him tick and my most obvious first impression is that he likes to talk. He also likes to think, deeply. He has a strong desire to live in the now according to his principals, morals and values. So his starting point in our chat is not what he was or what he will become but where he is today. I like that for we are not solely defined by our past and our future is an undiscovered country we haven't moved to yet.

He has the gift of intuitive thinking. Intuitive thinking is the capacity reflect on what one sees and notice things that others may miss. He also gravitates toward critical thinking. This is the capacity to ask the right questions rather than blindly accepting at face value what people say. Lots of people say nice things but as they say actions can speak louder than words.

So if this sounds like Phil lives in his head at lot well yes that's true but there is more to the story. There always is. He knows what a dysfunctional family looks like. He know what years of heroin addiction feels like. He has known the healthy buzz that comes from playing sports like soccer and the crushing psychological weight of a shame based personal world view. Responding to a strict parenting regime he became a wild child but by the age of 45 knew it was time to enter rehab.

Living with addiction was like stumbling through one of those old side show attractions with distorted mirrors that make you look short or tall. Coming through rehab was a huge struggle but on the other side he could see himself with a great deal more clarity. The principals, morals and values that guided him through all of this are rooted in his belief in God. But you won't hear him pushing his beliefs on others for he has seen plenty of examples where people do that and pass on their own biased and distorted thinking. For Phil it's all about meeting the need first. If they are hungry, feed them, no strings attached.

Love in action meets practical needs. It gives people the space to reflect on who they can be when they are free of their burdens. Such freedom then becomes a journey of discovery. Phil discovered that he is good at public speaking. He had no idea about that until his attention was taken off the bad stuff and he took the steps to be free of it.

Phil struggles with what he sees in the world today especially the junk that accumulates on the internet. He is tempted to sink into cynicism but fortunately such compulsions are not the whole story. His phone camera has captured many beautiful images. After years of narrow focus on his problems can now also see the big picture.

His goal of completing a Bachelor of Counselling should give him the opportunity to share what he has learned with others. Formal qualifications combined with his knowledge and experience will serve him well. But he won't see himself as an expert who has all the answers and he certainly won't want to rigidly tell people what to do. It's simply all about holding up a better mirror, identifying real needs and fumbling collaboratively through to discover something better. Life beyond smart phones and dumb ideas. Life in all it's fullness.

10 March, 2023

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