Living Waters, NGT (No One Goes Thirsty)
I wanted to write for this month’s blog. What better way but to choose a topic that puts my own self into the story.
I would go to church and see the flyer for Living Waters and pass it by – not surprising given my, at times, anxious and rushed nature. The sign looked nice, and I assumed maybe it was just a church function. Or a retreat. But as I went to church every other week at the time, it was still there on the board, so I took a walk over one day to get a closer look. My life started to change right there and then; and I didn’t even realize it.
I told my wife, “Honey, look at this, a counseling service, for people with issues or concerns, that’s appears faith based, I didn’t even know there was such a thing”. In the “old days”, I knew some people went to their priest or pastor for help, but an actual service, of professionals, in a vocation that often evangelizes agnosticism, actually incorporating the Catholic faith into the mix, if you wished (note this is open to all faiths and beliefs)–well this may be a help for some people I know, certainly not me I thought, arrogantly thinking I had most of the answers. But for others. Well, those “others” ended up being my wife and me.
2020. Started out as normal as any other year, but little did we realize a Tsunami was coming—–Covid. A bug you couldn’t see, couldn’t feel, couldn’t taste was about to change life as we knew it. I wasn’t overly afraid of the virus, but of the economic and practical dysfunction it was about to cause. The radio and TV basically said we would enter Depression part 2. Stock market will collapse. Jobs will be lost. Excess worry oftentimes leads to mistakes. And we were no exception.
I made a financial decision that I thought was prudent and it turned out to be terrible. That bad decision put me in a very dark depressive box and combined with all the covid protocols in place was a recipe for potential disaster. It is in these trying times that Satan rises to the occasion. He looks for any dent in the armor and I must admit, that while I went to church, I wasn’t as adherent in the faith as I should have been. I knew a bit about the Bible and about Catholic teachings, but enough just to engage in basic conversation. I didn’t live it, I didn’t preach it, I didn’t appreciate it. And Satan was licking his chops.
I sat and sat and obsessed over the mistakes I had made. Each day was worse than the day that preceded it. I stopped eating and lost weight. I was quiet and sullen, hardly engaging my wife or anyone else in conversation other to lament on the mistakes I just made. I asked myself why and how I put my future, but more importantly my loving wife’s future on such a perilous string. I felt people were kind to my worry, yet so far from it that their opinions didn’t matter. I had always been anxious my entire life, but now for the first time ever I was deeply depressed. It was then that I said perhaps it would be better if I was no longer on this earth, after all my wife would get a nice insurance settlement and it would be my way of making up for my mistake. Like I said a very deep dark place. I was literally in Satan’s living room, and he was loving it.
As Romans 16:20 states:
The God of Peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
My wife was worried. She called a few psychiatrists and was not overly impressed. Then she remembered the sign for Living Waters, run by Carol Rubano. We passed it literally 50 times over the past year. My wife was desperate, she really thought she could lose me as I got deeper and deeper into depression and blame of myself.
Within a day I had an appointment to speak with Carol, not only the founder of Living Waters, but an exceptionally strong experienced therapist. At first, I protested, I said to my wife “leave me alone, I don’t need to speak to anyone, I’m not going to do anything crazy”, but my wife knew better. So, the day came and I called Carol. She could immediately ascertain I was in trouble. She was to the point and while warm and caring, she was also tough, which is exactly what I needed. She immediately ran her own diagnostics to determine if I could take my own life, and I had to convince her that that part of my depression had passed, I wouldn’t do that to my wife. She didn’t buy it at first and entered my psyche from every conceivable angle and after a couple of sessions we had put the fear that I would harm myself to bed, however the general depression was still there and embedded.
Asking for help is honoring to God. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was. Once I asked for help from Carol my world changed.
As Galatians 6:2 tells us: Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Carol indeed carried my burdens and started to hammer away at the issues at hand. She taught me that while I looked at this as an error, in the overall scheme of things it would be a blip. More important was my relationship with God, the church and my wife who loved me so much that she added to her own stress to help me with mine.
Proverbs 18:22: He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.
The Lord did bless me with a wife that frankly saved me from the depths of despair and led me to a woman who built me back up both psychologically and spiritually.
As time went on, I enjoyed the sessions with Carol at Living Waters more and more. I looked so forward to them that I would often call into our zoom meeting early hoping she was there. We’d always start with a prayer and end with a prayer, and it served to energize my spirit and made me realize we exist because of Him and live for Him. He gives us all the tools to manage our lives if we come to Him. Well, I went to Him and the engines were my wife and Carol.
Week after week things got better. I got more cheerful, more energized, more alive. I truly started to practice what Saint Padre Pio preached, “Pray, hope and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer”. After a while our sessions included my wife which added an entirely new dimension. I am proud to say that today I am a happier person. I accept the mistakes that were made and realize everything is in God’s hands. If not for God leading me to Carol and Living Waters, there is no telling where I would be today. Nor if I’d be here today. If you are religious, agnostic or anywhere in between, Living Waters can get you back on track to lead a more productive life—–they did for me!!!