The Sunday School Answer

It’s the inside joke for those of us who grew up going to church.

The answer is always Jesus.

For every question we’re asked in church, the only true adequate response is Jesus.

We chuckled over this in high school.

****

I was meeting with my new doctor the other day, going over my history, like all good mental health physicians do, when I was asked the same question I’ve been asked by every doctor since this whole recovery process started.

How are you still functioning right now?

The truth is, the only people who know every detail of my past are the doctors who ask and my sister. At this point, no one has ever heard just how much I’ve walked through. I don’t tell people mostly because I don’t feel most people in my life are ready or able to hear the details without walking away damaged themselves. I care too much about my friends to put them through the details too soon.

But in order for the doctors to help me, they have to know, which is why they ask the questions they do.

Literally every doctor asks me how I’m thriving now. They look at me like I must hold the magical cure for adverse behavior.

I’ve been told I should be different. I should be leading a very different life right now. Or at the very least, I should be recovering from a very different life.

But as of today, the only thing I am recovering from is a previously undiagnosed mental illness and current sugar hangover.

****

You are a peculiar woman. The doctor eyes me with a smile.

I swallow my anxiety. What do you mean? What had I done wrong? I clasp my hands, feeling dread.

You are brave. She responds. It takes a brave woman to live like you do with all the adversity you have experienced. It’s very impressive. 

I try not to cry. I do not feel brave. I feel terrified. I have cried three times today and have begged God all day to give me peace to no avail.

Thank you is all I can muster.

What is your secret? The doctor asks with eager anticipation.

I want to groan. I am annoyed that God has still not granted me peace yet. My faith. Jesus.

She seems disappointed. They always do. No doctor I’ve met yet has been satisfied that Jesus is the reason I am not what I could’ve been.

But there’s nothing else I could say. Jesus is the only true adequate response.

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