Unexpected Ashes

Tonight I saw my psychiatrist, who reassured me that I have been experiencing a flare-up of my anxiety disorder. [Oh yes, I have an anxiety disorder on top of bipolar disorder, adding an exponential wrinkle to both mania and depression.] All the problems with verbal recall, memory and decision-making, and the strange sensations and emotions of the last couple weeks have been somatizations of the anxiety. I’m so new to living with the knowledge I have mental illness that I still overreact to its ebbs and flows, and have yet to hone my coping skills. All of which led to yesterday’s meltdown and today’s aftermath meltdown of the anxiety flare-up.

My psychiatrist patiently explained what was going on, so reassuring, so gentle. Then, in the words I so desperately needed to hear, this wonderfully faithful Muslim doctor said, “God is great. God nourishes, cares for, nurtures us. It is God who makes us grow from 5 lbs to the size we are today. We begin and end inside God. No one is born and no one dies without God’s say so. God is great. And generous. We serve the same God, you and me, you a Christian pastor, and me a Muslim man.”

With these words I heard again that I am a child of God and received unexpected ashes on my forehead from an unexpected pastor this Ash Wednesday.

12 responses to “Unexpected Ashes

  1. You are, indeed, a child of God.

    I’m glad he was able to provide information and reassurance.

  2. Heather Dethloff

    Beautiful words spoken by your doctor.

  3. Wow. What a wonderful God moment at a critical time. For that I am thankful.

  4. TY for such a beautiful story that made me smile. I have bipolar disorder as well as an anxiety disorder so I can relate. I find it very helpful to see a doctor that brings faith into therapy sessions. I am blessed to have a doctor that brings God into my sessions.

  5. Forgot to mention that the first time I ever saw my doctor he said “God has brought you here and I am going to help you.”. This was very comforting in a time of hardship. Have a blessed day.

  6. Now I’m going to cry for a while.

    What wonderful, understanding words!

  7. That’s awesome.

    And you are a child of God, beloved by God. (and beloved by a bunch of us too!)

  8. Amen. I give thanks that you are in God’s good hands and this doctor’s good hands.

  9. What a wonderful surprise for you!!! So relieved to hear that prayers are indeed answered for the immediate need of a pastor on Ash Wednesday, and I love God reminding us that not all pastors are ordained, or even Christian 🙂

  10. Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler

    I too am touched by your doctor’s words, and by yours too–linking the words to the imposition of ashes. Thank you.

  11. Beautiful image and words offered to you, Deb. Sending love your way with prayers that you will find that kind of comfort and encouragement in other unexpected places.

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