This is the fountain at the front of our development. Now if you can look past the two adorable children – I know, it’s super hard, but try your best – you may be able to see that the water is green. Not just great looking water with a little tinge of green, but GREEN! Like, “Did they dye it green for St. Patrick’s Day and forget to change it back?”
My first thought when I noticed how gross it started looking is that they needed to just dump a bunch of chemicals into it until the water returned to a normal color. Well just two days after I thought that, this is what the fountain looks like.
Apparently no amount of dumping chemicals was going to help the mess that had developed in this fountain. It has been completely drained. It is completely empty.
This made me think about how often we approach problems or areas of unhealthiness in our lives in similar ways. We try to feel better, or fix those problems by dumping in temporary fixes. We dump in distractions like food, TV, spending money, relationships, and becoming more successful just to name a few. Those things feel better right away, but after the effects fade the issues are still there. Whatever is causing the green, funky water remains, and we are right back where we started again.
We even do this in therapy. If you have ever gone to therapy week after week, and simply “downloaded” the events of the week to your therapist who listened, cared, and showed you compassion, you probably felt better. You probably really liked your therapist. But you probably started to see the same problems, and patterns creep up after ending therapy. Someone who just listens and cares every week isn’t doing therapy. They are just being a really good listener.
Now before you get all defensive about your last therapist, who you loved, and who was a really good listener let me pause and say that listening is an integral part of therapy. You cannot be a good therapist, and not be a good listener. It is just not possible. But real healing, real growth needs more than listening. Real growth sometimes means emptying the fountain, and digging around in the plumping until you find the source of the problem. Real growth is messy, painful, uncomfortable . . . and so so worth it!
So what about you? Are you dumping chemicals, and hoping that this time it will stick, and the water of your life will stay clear? What would it look like to empty the fountain? In the coming months, I will be sharing some resources that I think can help empty, and clean out the pain, and the scar tissue that so often leads to the life issues we struggle with. It’s not easy, but it is worth it!