I’m wired. Really. I’m wired up with electronic sensors listening to my heart for the next two weeks.
I’ve been born into a family with silly hearts that don’t always work well. As I’ve reached an age when one pays much closer attention to one’s health, my physician has taken the step to recommend two weeks of listening to my heart. This is a deeply annoying, but a fantastic preventative measure, the first step in keeping an eye on my heart health as I age. I’m feeling very grateful for cautious doctors to take care to keep a step ahead of problems.
But, did I mention how much I hate these wires? This annoyance is hard to ignore, with lines pulling at me throughout the day, and popping off when I reach for my favorite teacup on the high shelf.
It’s brought to mind for me how much these annoyances become obstacles to health—how often I avoid opportunities for healing or growth because it may come with discomfort. And yet the discomfort is so insignificant compared to the possible risk of delay. These silly wires are nothing compared to significant surgery that could come down the road after years of heart neglect.
Clients who find their way to our office are clients who have taken the brave step through the discomfort of calling for the first time—it is a sizable challenge for many to take that step! But, I suspect most of them would likely say that the relief and support that came from the call was worth that first awkwardness on the phone.
Clients who raise an issue in session that they know will bring shame, anger or anguish, but dare to hope that by talking about it they will heal—these clients talk about pushing through discomfort. I’m humbled regularly in my office by those brave moments that are the clear, but painful path to healing and hope.
It’s so tempting to avoid the discomfort—to avoid the conversation, or unplug my wires. But I’m grateful for the medical system this week. I’m so grateful that someone wiser than I is keeping an eye on my heart, and I’m working to push through the discomfort to greater gains.
I will continue to be inspired by my clients who push towards hope.
Jennifer Bowen, M.Div., RMFT, is the Clinical Director of Shalem Mental Health Network’s Counselling Services.