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Photo taken at Higher Grounds in Greeley
Lately I've been thinking about all the metaphors and phrases I use. If there's a word picture to be found, I'll grab it. I often talk about how counseling is like cleaning out your closet or healing an open wound. There are all sorts of parallels to be drawn.

Or, I've been known to discuss how "anger is almost always a secondary emotion." It's true. That might have to be a future post.

And then there are gumballs.

This analogy is really quite simple. The more you put in, the more you get out. Put in a quarter, get a gumball. Put in two quarters, get two gumballs.

I recently started my last semester at Denver Seminary. It's been a long but amazing journey. My first semester was in the fall of 2002. I had just finished a summer of travel to Boston, the coast of Maine, the Grand Canyon (road trip in a convertible), and topping it off with fragrant Hawaii. Even after all that travel, I was deeply searching for something more.

I knew I wanted to be a counselor. I also desperately wanted to grow. Both happened in beautiful and stretching ways.  But first, I needed to invest a few quarters.

My first round of seminary brought me through four years of textbooks, tests, mentoring, and internships.  Courses in theology, biblical interpretation, counseling, ethics and so much more taught me about my future profession. I also learned a lot through the art of living. During that time I worked in new jobs, traveled a bit more, and walked through the loss of my amazing and beautiful Grandma Nadine. Life was lived and learned.

Gumballs. I had gained so much.

Later, I decided to go back to seminary in the fall of 2008. Again, I had just returned from a trip. This time I had spent two weeks resting and adventuring in Kuwait and Dubai. The previous months of grief-laden work had brought more gumballs. And some big gooey bubbles.

And so started this next journey.  More classes, more reading, lots of reflection, tons of growth, and thankfully no tests. A good compliment to my Counseling degree, this one is called Christian Formation and Soul Care. I'll have to explain more later, but I'm excited about where this is leading.

As I face a stack of books and a bunch of deadlines, I'm incredibly excited for this last semester. I have a lot of work ahead, but I'm ready to invest some more quarters.

Life is tough. Sometimes it's a bit on the chewy side. But, oh those gumballs make it so sweet.

(As a side note, I can't take credit for this analogy. I first learned it from a counselor named Rachel Haley who supervised me as an intern. Obviously, I continue to find it very useful.)

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Reader Comments (1)

The Grand Canyon is a gumball for me too! Great post Nichole!

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Lanier

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