The soulwork I have been doing around authenticity was triggered by a niggling sense of incongruence in myself. I kept saying that I didn’t feel like my insides and my outsides matched, and this created a sense of disconnect that was spiritually bothersome. My SD and I conversed about this at length! At first it seemed it was about my not measuring up to those inner critics who would demand I be perfect enough to be priest. Never mind that! When they got really riled they were demanding that I be perfect enough to deserve merely to inhabit space and breathe air. But thanks be to God and grace, I think I’m beginning to get it! Being congruent and authentic is about bringing this same, real self, as unencumbered as possible by masks and defenses, to all that is.
I had to testify in court yesterday. Of all the things that I do as a psychologist, this is one of my least favorite. Usually I am called as a witness in cases where one of my clients is about to lose rights to his or her children. This is always sad and there are no real winners, however it comes out. As I sat on the stand yesterday listening to the attorneys for both sides try to carefully craft their questions, it flashed through my mind that I was in a “witness” chair. How in this place could I give witness? Beyond the obvious of doing my best to give careful, honest, well-thought answers regarding my client’s situation, I thought, here might be a chance to dispel a stereotype, provide a moment of insight, and reduce someone’s ignorance about mental illness by just one tiny bit. Because this is all part of who I am. The psychologist, the priest, the teacher, each of those parts of me is not, as I say so often, one of my many hats, nor am I even someone who is bi- or tri- vocational but rather one who is simply “vocational.” Called. Called to live out the Gospel through the use of who I am, where I am in whatever role I happen to be serving in that day, in whatever way I can.