I’m going to take a few sentences and be transparent. This is a particularly hard post to write. I’ve been collecting ideas for blog posts since I was contacted to join the Northern Lights team earlier this year. I’m up to about 50. As I sat down to write this post, I’ve gone though all of them, started many of them, and I’m stumped. Nothing so far has felt right.
I don’t know if my difficulty making up my mind stems from personal doubts and indecision, some hectic and unexpected life stresses, subtle guidance, or some combination of factors. I was drawn again and again to a number of quotes from an article I read about a year ago. I’ve been reluctant to simply paste them here. Maybe that’s just habit from years of writing papers. Even now, I can hear my high school English teacher’s voice booming: “If you’re not creating new ideas, it’s just plagiarism.”
Nevertheless, I’m starting to feel good about starting a series of posts that follows some of the ideas from the article “Journey of the Soul” by Wendy Ulrich from Issues in Religion and Psychotherapy, a publication of The Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists (AMCAP). I believe that Sister Ulrich has some particularly profound insights that are worth repeating.
I’ll add a few thoughts of my own (and maybe others), but the Ulrich article will constitute the primary resource.
“My own healing has taken me on a strange journey, and it has been a journey toward salvation as much as wellness, convincing me that God saves us by healing us, healing us from the inside out. For this reason I believe the spiritual journey of mortality is ultimately a healing journey. Whether we battle depression, addiction, anxiety, personality disorder, psychosis, or post traumatic stress, LDS Chaplain Paul Williams reminds us, “Hygiene-oriented psychologies cannot heal hearts and guide soul-pilgrims whose “mental illnesses” are God’s dispatching of … soul[s] to their journey” (personal correspondence, April 19, 1995). True healing requires us to leave behind the false comforts of home and civilization to wander through an inhospitable wilderness in search of our inheritance as children of God.”
I would echo that my journey has been one of healing and salvation. Life has turned out very differently from what I imagined back as a teen. Those differences are not just due to my experience with SSA. Many were simply because my family moved while I was on my mission. My journey really began when I was forced to leave my own childhood home.
Wendy Ulrich commented that there are many accounts of journeys in the scriptures: Jonah, Moses, the Children of Israel, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, in fact, the entire human story begins with a journey from a garden into a lone and dreary world. The rest of the article uses Nephi’s journey from Jerusalem as a metaphor for the Journey of the Soul each of us must take. Future installments in the series will follow that journey, delve into the parallels to our own lives, and sift for additional insight.
What has your Journey been like so far? Which journey from the scriptures speaks most strongly to your personal experience? What connections might Nephi’s journey to the promised land have to your own?