Posted by: Marie | February 1, 2012

(626) Attempting to thaw – Part 2 of 5

Post #626
[Private journal entry written on Monday, May 23, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Me: One thing I have been thinking about as I’ve been reading the book is: What would have happened had I ended up marrying Todd? I don’t think I would have had the freedom to openly address the crisis of faith I had 20 years ago . . . and that I’m stilling having now, to some extent. I think I would have been trapped in the roll of a pastor’s wife – I don’t think I would have the option of investigating other belief structures. Or, it would have been a very expensive option.

Edward: Yes, that would have been tough situation for you!

(Lightheartedly) It would have been quite a scandal: “Pastor’s wife goes into therapy and comes out a heathen . . . “

You know, they might have blamed the rogue therapist!

Photo by Martin Chen

Me: (Laughing) I bet you would have been blamed!

(More seriously) I actually dated several pastors-to-be at the college – I thought I wanted to be a missionary and/or a pastor’s wife. I had several opportunities to get trapped in that way . . .

Phew, I’m glad I dodged that bullet!

Edward: Yes, that’s something to be thankful for!

So, what is your feeling about the story . . . does it ring true for you?

Me: It does, actually. Knowing Todd – as least the Todd of 25 years ago – I believe that he was very careful to write only the truth – or at least the truth as he knows it. Even back in college, his integrity was impeccable. I can’t imagine that has changed because it was such a part of his core character. I’m sure it still is part of his core character.

Edward: But, his own beliefs about God and heaven could have impacted his son’s ability to accurately recall what really happened.

Me: Well, in the book, Todd talks about how careful both he and his wife were in asking open-ended questions so they didn’t influence their son’s memories. I believe they really were as careful as he says. Of course, they had plenty of time before the incident to influence their son’s understanding of God and heaven. But, their son knew things that there was no other way for him to know other than to have left his body and traveled to another plane. I do believe that happened.

So, it’s been interesting for me to contemplate how to resolve the disparity between the son’s account and what I believe to be true. I think we each experience God as we need to experience him in order to feel connected and included. For example, if I died and traveled to another plane such as “heaven”, I don’t think I’d see Jesus – at least, I wouldn’t see him as someone more than human. I think I would see “heaven” according to my understanding of “heaven”.

Does that make sense?

Edward: I think I know what you are saying . . . in other words, if I were to have an after-life experience, I might see Buddha and Jesus and Muhammad all together, having a party.

Me: Yeah, exactly! I think Todd’s son saw things in a way that best supports his existence in the environment in which he is living. In his case, it’s not about his experience being “right”, it’s about his experience being applicable to him and his world.

I see the existence of different religions as something like a college professor teaching kindergarteners about physics. Despite the professor’s best efforts to give a consistent explanation, each kindergartner is going to come away from the lesson with a very different understanding.

One kid will define physics by how a ball bounces. Another kid will define it by how airplanes fly. Another will see it in how a feather slowly floats to earth. As an adult, we understand that each of those examples is impacted by the laws of physics – each example is only one of many ways that the principals of physics could be demonstrated.

But, a child is not going to have that umbrella comprehension. Each child is going to demand that his or her understanding be honored as “the right understanding” and that everyone else’s explanation be deemed as wrong. As adults, we can see they are all correct – but the kids can’t yet understand that.

Edward: Wow . . . I really like that explanation! That may be one of the best explanations I’ve ever heard!

Me: Thanks!

So, anyway . . . that’s the story behind the book I’m reading.

Edward: Thanks for sharing that with me!

So, how are you doing in general?

Me: Do you remember how, in our last session, I mentioned that my desire to die is no longer stronger than my desire to live?

Edward: Yes, I remember.

Me: Well, that is still the case. I can’t say that I’m really excited about living yet, but at least I’m not wishing to die on a regular basis. So, maybe I have reached a true “tipping point” in my healing. It’s okay if that is not the case, but it would be nice if it is.

I’ve even been waking up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning because I’m excited about what I have planned for the day – I’m excited about the projects I have planned for the summer. They are projects I’ve been wanting to get done for months and months and I think I’ll be able to get most or all of them done. I’m looking forward to that.

Edward: That is great! I’m glad to hear the shift in your energy is persisting!

(All the sudden, Edward looked towards the corner of the room and got a funny look on his face.)

Me: What’s the matter?

Edward: I just realized something . . . I moved the big plant from this corner so I could hang my new picture up on the wall where the plant had been. Then, I put the plant in the other corner – in your corner – which means you can’t get into your corner when you need to! Oh, no!

Me: Well, thanks for worrying about me . . . but, I don’t think it is a big deal. I’m feeling comfortable enough in here that I would be fine with using a different corner . . . or just sitting in the middle of the room. I don’t think it’s a big deal at all.

Edward: Thank you for your flexibility on the matter . . . and I’m glad you’re feeling that comfortable here. If, at some point, you feel it is important for you to go into that corner, I’ll pull the plant out of the corner.

Me: That works! Thanks!

(We sat looking at each other for a moment or two . . . )

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. I’ll be interested to hear if you had reached a tipping point. If you hadn’t then I hope you have by now.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I’m learning that there may not be a “tipping point” . . . that it is pretty much a steady climb with a few hills and valleys . . .

      Thank you for the supportive words!

      – Marie

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