Jim was a 32 year old father of two. His marriage unraveled right before his eyes. It almost didn’t seem fair to him. He never wanted this to happen. He had never cheated on his wife. He was hard working. He loved his wife and kids. And yet, his wife had an affair when she returned back to work after the birth of their second child.
She had the affair for about 4 months. Then her guilty conscious gave her away. He was even willing to forgive her. But she filed for a divorce and for custody of the kids. Even though he continued to see his kids consistently and continued to hope that she might not go through with her plans, he wound up divorced.
Shortly after the divorce, Jim stopped coming to therapy. His insurance was in his wife’s name, and he felt like he couldn’t afford to come see me anymore. His depression had gotten so bad that he lost his job. His life was unraveling before his eyes. Even though he loved his kids dearly, he lost sight of who he was.
One day, he emailed me. He told me that he had lost his job. I told him that if he didn’t have insurance and he needed to see me that we could work something out financially. I said that I could see him for the price of a co-pay until he got back on his feet again. He didn’t call or respond. About a month later, he set an appointment on my schedule.
When he came in he told me that a month ago he had decided to kill himself. He had emptied out his bank account, written his good-bye note to his kids, pulled out his trusty gun and loaded it with a brand new cartridge. This gun is known in law enforcement as a “God Gun.” That is because it does not have a safety. If you pull the trigger, and it does not fire, it is an act of God.
So Jim loaded the God Gun with a brand new cartridge right out of the package. Each cartridge holds 10 rounds. Jim cocked the gun, put it to his temple and pulled the trigger. To his amazement, nothing happened. He sat frozen on his bedroom floor. He was stunned. How could this be? This gun had ALWAYS fired. This was a brand new cartridge. How could this be?
He pulled the cartridge from the gun and looked at the cartridge. There were 9 rounds in the cartridge.
“Hmmmm…that’s weird. Freaking weird. The round must have loaded.”
Jim looked in the chamber of the gun, sure the bullet would for some odd reason be sitting inside…
“Whoa! Where’s the bullet?”
There was no bullet in the chamber. There was no bullet anywhere. What this meant is that, probably about 9 months ago someone working in the cartridge factory was half checked out at their job and only loaded 9 rounds in a 10 round cartridge.
This 9 round cartridge managed to make it past the quality control personnel undetected. Then that exact cartridge had to become part of the shipment that was sent to North Houston, get stocked on the store shelf and get sold to Jim 6 months ago. Jim had to hold onto it for 6 months and not use the cartridge, all for this to happen.
“Is this just coincidence?” Jim asks me.
I smile, “No, that’s God.” “You know what my family told me about you?” “No what?” I asked.
Jim said, “They said no doctor is ever willing to see a patient for free. All doctors go to school so that they can make lots of money. If that doctor is willing to see you for free…that’s God.”
I said, “They are right, you know.”
I stood up, walked over to the couch he was sitting on, sat on the floor by his feet, looked up at him and said,
“ That was God and this is God. If you EVER need me, or need to come in and see me to talk, come. I’ll see you for free. Just come. The money is not important, your life is.”
Jim put his head in his hands and began to weep. I sat up and hugged him as he wept in my arms. I reached over and handed him a tissue. He wiped his eyes. Then I made him “pinky swear” with me that he would call if he ever needed me. He agreed. We talked a little more. Then I walked Jim out to the front door, hugged him good-bye, smiled and said,
“You are going to help so many people you don’t even know with that story. I will disguise who you are and you will pay it forward to help others. Thank you for that.” He smiled and left.
That evening my very last appointment was a couple coming in for a free meet the therapist appointment. These are 30 minute appointments where I basically describe what therapy is about and if the patient wants to try it, we book them in for a regular appointment. My office manager hates to leave me alone in the office. That evening, she had a Bible study that began at 6:30pm.
She was reluctant to leave me, but I insisted to her that I would be just fine. Reluctantly, she left. I completed some notes while I waited for the couple to arrive. The wife arrived first. She was a petite 30 year old black female. Her name was Tammy. She said her husband was coming in behind her. I gave her some paperwork to fill out as we waited for her husband to arrive. She handed me the finished paperwork.
Right at that moment, a man opened the door. I smiled. My office manager would have died. The man was in his early 30s, in a wife-beater white tank top, sagging jean shorts, a bandana tied around his head, and was COVERED with gang tattoos. He had tats on his neck. His arms, legs, chest and back were covered. They followed me back to my office. He had just been released from prison and they were having marital problems.
He had done just under 6 years of his 12 year sentence for assault with a deadly weapon. He told me he actually liked prison. He was respected there. He was popular and respected. He got out early for good behavior. Now he was missing prison. No one out here trusted him, liked him or respected him. I showed him some of the drawings the kids from juvie (juvenile detention) had done for me. I told him several stories about the kids I had met in juvie. I loved those kids. Once he had learned I had worked in my version of prison, he warmed up to me.
We told stories about the inside, while his wife listened. I said that on the outside he had to cover himself with gang tats to get respect. But the respect he got was fake because it was ba
I said, “you felt great on the inside because the respect was earned and real. You are supposed to earn respect. When you do, that will make you happiest.”
He said, “I never thought of it that way.”
I hear this all the time. I have this way of making everyone understand things more clearly. It’s my gift. I read God.
I say, “that’s how God works.”
Then I told them the miracle story about the “God Gun.”
I said, “It’s a completely true story. The person who told it to me was sitting right there earlier today.” They sat wide eyed in amazement. I shrugged and said, “When you do what I do for a living, you see a lot of miracles.” Our free 30 minute session turned into a free three hour session. By the time they had left they were both seeing God in their lives.
Tammy hugged me and thanked me so much. He looked me in the eyes, shook my hand and thanked me and said, “I am so glad I met you.” I said, “likewise” and I meant it.
That evening, I left the building at 10:15pm. Even the cleaning crew had finished and left the building before I had left. I giggled as I drove home, thinking about how my office manager would have NEVER left that evening if she had seen that man. It has become the running joke of the practice that we cannot let me conduct the free 30 minute sessions because I’ll give away the store. 3 hours. But it was worth it. It is always worth it.