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.