Grace and Mercy in Therapy

Ellen’s Story

“This should not have happened,” Ellen said to me, and I didn’t disagree, because it made no sense that she was scornfully tossed aside by her husband of twenty-three years for someone he met at work.   I had been seeing her for four months, helping her through the stages of grief following the loss of her marriage.  Ellen was a survivor, a strong person who refused to waste her life living as a victim.  Her former husband was addicted to drugs and sex.

“I gave that scoundrel my heart and soul; we raised a wonderful daughter and son.  I gave up a career and stood by him all the way for all those years.”  She was fuming, sitting in my office, eyes burning with homicidal rage and righteous indignation.  Then she did something I didn’t expect.  She laughed.

“And you know, I should have seen it coming,” she mused.  “Before me, all his relationships were pitifully unstable.  Just before we got engaged he told me, ‘You’re different from the others, Ellen.  You wouldn’t desert me like they did.’  And he was right—I never would have. ”

In those four months Ellen had screamed and swore and cried and by this time had recovered her self-esteem.  It was perfectly absurd that she was tossed aside when she had such a golden heart. Yet, the Grace bestowed on her was her children.  She told me that bringing them into the world was more than compensation for her disappointing marriage, which she survived.  She would remarry, this time to a wonderful man who was truly worthy of her.  I believe many times people overcome profound traumas and tragedies through mystical events of Grace and Mercy.

God’s Mercy imbues a special kind of meaning to anything.  In fact, in ordinary human experience, when we choose to inject the God into a story or event, it often elevates it to the extraordinary.  “God, I can’t believe that actually happened to you!” is exclaimed without consciously thinking about God, but nonetheless God belongs in the mix of ideas somehow, because there’s something mysteriously wonderful or amazing about those special, mystical events.

You may have a very vague, almost non-existent and even unflattering concept of God; yet the word “God” will promote itself in our minds in these numinous experiences of life.

“God, that was close!  An anvil dropped down out of nowhere and almost flattened me!” is a statement that raises getting that close to death, but yet somehow eluding it, to something incredible or miraculous.

Those kinds of situations I have re-worked from real cases with real people I have treated to share with you, my reader.  I hope you will add your own stories of life’s miracles to them as we go.  And if you haven’t had a miracle happen to you lately, if you need one, they are available to you, because no one is excluded from God’s amazing Grace and Mercy.