Tuesday, August 27, 2013


     I just finished reading a friend's sermon entitled, "Let It Be."  His introduction recounts the story of how Paul McCartney came to write this famous Beatle's song. I had assumed the song's reference to Mother Mary was to the mother of Jesus, but this Mary was Paul's mother. She had appeared to him in a dream during a time in his life when he was very distraught, and had told him, "Let it be." Paul felt she gave him this message: 

     "Be gentle, don't fight things, just try to go with the flow and it will all work out."

     A part of me resonates with this message, yet another part of me resists it. 

     It reminds me of the "Serenity" prayer:

Lord, help me to change what I can; accept what I can't; and give me the wisdom to know the difference.

     Rather than feel serenity when I hear this prayer, I often feel somewhat distressed, as the wisdom to know the difference is exactly what I often don't have.

     My first full-time ministerial assignment in 1971 was to a church that had a racial policy in writing that stated: "No member of the Negroe (sic) race shall be admitted for attendance or membership." I openly opposed that policy and worked to encourage those who wanted to change it. (It was abolished in 1975.) I'm glad I did not just "let it be." 

     Unfortunately, there have been many other occasions when I should have looked at a situation and said "Let it be" but did not...to my chagrin!

     Back in the 80's when I first began working as a professional counselor, I did a lot of research about the various 'schools' of psychotherapy (over 500 back then) and what seemed to work. The concensus was that the relationship between the therapist and the client was the essential therapeutic ingredient. So much for all the theories if that relationship of trust could not be established! 

     At any rate, in my work with clients, I found I was often able to build the relationship, but my difficulty came at a critical tipping point: how long do I "let it be" and continue to listen, nurture and support the client--and when do I confront their faulty thinking and behavior? The answer is far more art (intuitive) than science.

     Actually, this dilemma pervades most issues in our life. As Kenny Rogers sang in The Gambler:

     "You've got to know when to hold'em;
          know when to fold'em;
               know when to walk away,
                    and know when to run."