Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Shrink Wrapped

I am SO not qualified for ministry. I frittered away my college years getting two doctorates that had nothing to do with theology, ministry, or baptistry maintainence. What was I thinking? Actually -- I can tell you: I always knew that one day I would need a shrink so I became one so that when that day came I would be there for me. When I am on the couch, eyes closed, arm over my face, I tell my wife that this is not napping: this is therapy. Leave me alone -- I'm near a breakthrough. One more plus about being a shrink: the inkblots mean whatever I say they mean.

It's also pretty cool being in an elders' meeting thinking "I could sign a couple of forms and these guys would be in a padded room and never eat with a fork again." Not that I would really think something like that. Really. Never crossed my mind.

Having the degrees helps when I am called to speak on this or that. I am leaving tomorrow for Indiana where I'll do three days on angels and demons. After a couple of days at home I go to New Jersey to do three days on Christian evidences and then one day (at another church) on a standard Bible-type topic. Right after I get back to Detroit I have to go to Phoenix to do three days on marriage and family issues. When I get back home I have to take off for West Virginia to do three days on mental health issues.

I get to meet interesting people -- many of whom need a shrink, or a minister, or both. I'll overhear enough conversations to feed my sermon illustrations for a few more months. I'll eat 3.5 miniature pretzels per flight which is good because I'm going to need my strength to fight Mongo in the seat beside me when he tries to take over the armrest that God, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles can all plainly see belongs to me by right. The stewardess... sorry... flight attendant will not be helpful as she can't manage to get her walker down the tight aisle and, besides, her oxygen tank only has a twelve foot long tube and I'm sitting back in the "let's slaughter a chicken for lunch" section among the rolled up prayer rugs.

Not that I'm complaining.

Shrink humor: when someone tells me their dream I like to scream and run away. I had one guy ask me if I thought he was paranoid. I said, "That's what everybody's saying." Another guy said he thought he had an inferiority complex. I said, "Yes, but it's not a very good one." Another time two extremely whiny people came in and after a painful twenty minutes hearing them complain about each other in tones that only dogs could hear I told them I couldn't help them as I was never trained in child psychology. I'm not proud about that one. (okay -- a little)

I never said I was a good shrink. I said I was cheap. There's a difference. Here's the good news for you who get to stay at home and worry about who gets kicked off what reality show: if you could get in my head you would pay money to get out.


At 10/18/2005 09:44:00 PM , Blogger Bill said...

Okay. You started it...

Q: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Just one! But, the light bulb’s gotta’ wanna’ change!

...May God bless you with safety in your travels and the words you need to shape lives for eternity.

At 10/18/2005 10:23:00 PM , Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Like - how much money do you think it would take to get out of your head? I'm trying to figure out if I can afford the bail money.

I sure hope so. I've got enough "shrink" problems to delve into already without having to take up some of yours in your head!

But, since you're leaving town, maybe it can wait a while. In the meantime, hope you have good trips and make it back home safely.

For those of us "down here" in the hurricane alley along the Mississippi/Louisiana gulf coast - we're just trying to dodge "Wilma," the new one headed into the gulf. Our only advice - stay up there in the "northlands!!"

Cheers! Dee

At 10/18/2005 10:56:00 PM , Blogger Morris said...

Hmmm the obvious one here is that your blogging is also cheap (read free) writing therapy.

At 10/19/2005 08:04:00 AM , Blogger Hoots Musings said...

Your post made me Laugh!
I am sending it to my insane psychologist girlfriend who once told me she was my friend because I kept her grounded and I was the most sane person she knew.


Blessings and traveling mercies as you tour the United States via American Airlines.

At 10/19/2005 09:24:00 AM , Blogger Cheetah, the cheetah said...

Patrick, I laughed out loud reading your blog today. I even shared it with my daughter over the phone and she laughed too. She said, "Mom, did he say 'baptistry maintenance'?"

Thank you for making me laugh today and I wish you could hear all the excited comments I'm hearing about you and the cruise. You are a loved man!

At 10/19/2005 09:50:00 AM , Blogger Lee Hodges said...

What a hoot! You made my day. By the way, what do Shrinks shrink?

At 10/19/2005 01:24:00 PM , Blogger CrazyJo said...

I always say that everyone you meet is crazy and falls into one of two categories - those you can live with and those you can't. I think you're in that former group.

Thanks for the laugh! Be sure to take a break after all that traveling.

At 10/19/2005 03:31:00 PM , Blogger Steve Duer said...

Being a social worker, I can add to you list.

My favorite description of a person who is "not all there" is: He/she is one tree shy of a hammock. There's a word picture for you.

For a real picture you need in your office: http://www.despair.com/demotivators/dysfunction.html

Thanks for the laughs today.

At 10/19/2005 05:24:00 PM , Blogger Laurie said...

Good laugh. Since I am working on a PhD in counseling: any good advice?

At 10/19/2005 06:17:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

For Bill -- you know how many CoC elders it takes to change a lightbulb? "Change? Change! Whaddya mean change? We don't need to change...."

For Laurie -- remember that shrinkdom can be very anti-God so enter it only fully armored, as wise as a snake and harmless as a dove. And it doesn't hurt if the dove is packing a Glock and/or a book of witty rejoinders.

At 10/20/2005 05:26:00 PM , Blogger Keith Brenton said...

My wife has a friend who is a psychologist, specializing in dream therapy. She has stopped telling people that, though, because then everyone starts asking her questions like "What does a dog mean?"

Since she told us that, every time Angi and I have come across an incomprehensible dilemma, one or the other of us asks, "What does a dog mean?"

Okay, that's not funny at all when I type it here and it's just one of those "you had to be there" things and this is really not helping my poorly-developed inferiority complex.

At 10/20/2005 06:32:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

And never forget the insomniac dsylexic agnostic who laid awake at night and wondered "is there a dog?"

At 10/20/2005 11:54:00 PM , Blogger Lisa said...

Keith - I found "What does a dog mean?" laugh-out-loud funny.

Patrick - I'm a few classes short of a psychology minor myself (hmm... is that anything like one tree short of a hammock?), and have been "on the couch" & "in group therapy" a few times myself, so I found your post highly entertaining.

Hope the travelling doesn't separate you too far from your sanity.

At 10/21/2005 04:14:00 AM , Blogger daniel greeson said...

My aunt (Annette Cargioli, red head, very talkative and nice, big family of red heads)attends there @ the congregation in Indiana, Green Valley I believe is the name. She sent me dvds of your last series of lessons there, great stuff. She wanted me to come up and hear ya but Im all the way in Kentucky. Hopefully ill be able to catch ya @ Winterfest.

God bless in the travels.


At 10/23/2005 01:27:00 AM , Blogger Niki said...

You're a nut! :) I love reading your blog! Happy Trails Patrick! Thanks for the laughs today!

At 10/24/2005 10:41:00 PM , Blogger TheRealPinkyNarf said...

When people ask me where I'm from, I tell them "the state of Insanity." If they say, "Ya, me too." I reply, "No, I think your from the state of Confusion."

Re: State of Insanity... it's a nice place to visit but you don't want to live there.

At 10/26/2005 12:44:00 AM , Blogger Joel Maners said...

I think I'm suffering from Hypochondria!

At 11/02/2005 10:26:00 AM , Blogger gardengate said...

Amazing to me how people can write anything they please here and feel like they have a license to kill...As long as they add a little humor and wit along the way.
So many sweet, deep thoughts poured into the poisonous mix. ....But does this make the drinking any less fatal if you can laugh on your way to the floor?
Am I the only person who notices the shards placed here and there along the slippery path of fine writing skills?
Here's one particular person who takes his blogging 'license' priviledges as serious as his pulpit ones. I wonder how many lay bleeding or even dying along the path of his 'humor'; his mocking wit.
I wonder if he cares.
Lets read this inspirational writing.....ew......ouch!...........ewwwwwww.....OUCH!!!!!!!!!
someday people are going to see that no matter how pretty you package something, you cannot forever hide what lies inside.It oozes out between the lines. Your degrees and experiences mean nothing in the grand scheme of things Patrick.
For a person who seems to pride himself on his non-people skills and his dislike and discomfort with closeness to the human race, you sure take great pleasure and passion in getting as close to the rights and priviledges of an intimate friend as you can to tear at them and destroy them with you words and judgements...
perhaps you are the one in need of that little piece of paper that takes away your "fork" priviledges. you are a dangerous man.
my only comfort is in knowing that God sees you and the fruit of your writings and words and He knows how to decifer your true intentions between each fancy line you write and each clever word you speak.
Oh.......You thought you were an apple tree?...... But persimmons are what we are holding, fresh from your plucking.

At 11/03/2005 02:17:00 PM , Blogger concertmaster1 said...

I heard you brag in church about having the power to sign a paper and put people in a place where they can't use a fork again. It was in context with those people who are coming to you concerned that what they see in the news are signs of the end of the world.
You are a man who has forgotten that "to whom much is given, much is required". Authority is not given to mock, brag and destroy, no matter how many people laugh. And what if you're wrong? You've made it obvious that you don't really "get prophecy". You've tried to make people who do get it sound "insane" and you've implied they should be put in the looney bin. Jesus said "the road is wide that leads to destruction. The road is narrow that leads to life, and few they are that find it." If everone is laughing with you, well, then it sounds like you're on the wide path. And remember... the whole world laughed at Noah, and mocked Noah, until the truth was evident and then it was too late. The Bible makes it clear that mockers and revilers are sinners...and every idle word that man speaks, he shall give account of it on that day. You confidently assure people that it's not the end, but you admit you don't know anything of these matters. Every single person that you lead astray, you'll have on your head.
Why can't you just speak the truth and say you don't know? I do know that God's Spirit and heart is not to mock, attack and destroy. Why DO people listen to you? Maybe they're on the wrong path too? The Bible says "few they are that find the narrow path". Your own words condemn you and everyone else who doesn't prayfully examine them.


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