by Margaret McCray, LMFT
612.332.7743 ext. 222
A young man in his mid-twenties came to the counseling center after he lost his
job and his six-year relationship broke up. He said to me, "I don't know what
to do. I'm scared and confused. My life seems so open-ended, now that it hasn't
ended up where I thought it would." He had planned to finish a graduate degree,
start a career, marry his girlfriend, and settle in to a happy life. In his
grief and fear he felt profoundly lost.
Who has not been in such a place, staring into a future that has no shape? We like
to believe that we have our finger on the pulse of things, that we are steering
our course toward a chosen destination. The more resources we have in terms of
health, education, and finances, the more we are inclined to believe that our
desired future will rise up to meet us.
But we are living in uncertain times. Education and health care have become more
costly. Jobs and financial stability are not easy to come by or maintain.
Local, national and global communities are unsettled and even angry. The future
for many of us is not sitting on some shining hill beckoning us to climb up and
Yet, the truth is: all times are uncertain. Our present and future security has
never depended on our external resources, much as we want to believe it does.
Yes, money, education, and health can bring a measure of security and pleasure.
Relationships are a harbor in the storm. But there are no guarantees. We can
never predict or control the personal tsunamis, tornadoes, fires, and floods
that can break into our lives and devastate the landscape we have come to know
and accept as "my life."
Another truth is: in order to meet the open-endedness that sits forever in front of us,
the resources we really need are community, flexibility, and faith.
Community provides a place to tell our story, a place to grieve our losses, to receive
and give forgiveness, to be comforted, and to give and receive love and
support. Flexibility is an attitude, a willingness that enables us to change
directions, discern new insights, shift our focus, imagine, create, and move
Faith is the ultimate foundation that survives whatever devastation we may endure.
Faith assures us there is hope when we have no hope, there is love when we feel
no love, there is a future when we can see no future. Faith is the conviction
that the open-endedness is not a black hole but rather a new, unfolding
landscape, a place we are always moving towards, a place where we can begin
again to build and plant and live. Thanks be to God.