April 23, 2017
Dr. Dustin Bridges
The other day as I was driving home from a day of teaching and counseling, I found myself confronted with exhaustion, both mentally and physically. When I feel this way I tend to drift off into daydream wondering if I am missing something or if this is the way things are supposed to be. I wonder to myself if exhaustion is just a byproduct of work and family life? At times like this, I have come to realize that these are not the most probing questions. But rather, the most probing question is “What do I long for?”
Why are we in such a rush? There seems to be loss of transcendence in our lives. The longing for transcendence has been displaced by an orientation to all sorts of immanent longings. It’s not that we have lost our need for significance, it's rather, we are seeking significance in various projects that are constructed from thin webs of meaning that provide almost all the significance we need. Although this pace of life has become the dominate mode of existence, we are haunted by the “almost”. In rare times of slowing down, in those few moments before we drift off to sleep, we experience a twinge of longing for more. Something does not seem right. We are achieving so much, but feel only emptier.
Many of us are on such auto drive we are totally unaware of how we get from home to work each day. We are so fixed on the next task and how we are going to fit everything into a day that already does not have enough time. This frenetic pace creates a numbness in our souls, we pass each other by with a quick “how are you?” and not enough time to get an answer. The connection is lost as we move onto the next task on the to do list.
The loss of connection with others, the sense of emptiness, is the breeding ground for shame. “There must be something defective in me, why do I feel so lost while everyone else is doing so well?” And we can see why shame is an enduring perpetrator of symptoms related to depression, addiction, anxiety, violence and suicidality.
However, there is hope for restoration. Granite Springs Counseling Center is a place of deeply rejuvenating hospitality. As a counselor at GSCC, I seek to provide space for connection and exploration, a place to slow down and breathe.
GSCC invites us to journey from the shallowness to the deeper more expansiveness of what life offers. We are invited to awaken to God’s gentle whisper to our souls, “come and you will find rest.” What does this rest look like? It is a rest that is discovered in wholeheartedness as we learn to be more hospitable to those fragmented and ignored parts of ourselves that we have not previously had enough time for. GSCC helps us cultivate space in our lives in which we connect more fully with ourselves, others, and God. We learn to do this by slowing down to intentionally listen to God and the deeper parts of ourselves. And in turn, over time, we learn to listen and be receptive to other people in our lives. As our lives become more integrated, meaning takes root in our lives again, and we start to heal and become a healing presence for others.