New Wine - A Letter to Past Clients

Dear Past Clients,

I know there are many of you with whom I have worked over the years and our time together has come to an end.  Some of you have been in touch when babies were born, careers changed, or you just wanted to reach out.  I love this, by the way.  I do wonder about you and think fondly of our sacred times together.  It is such a privilege to sit in that space and watch you face your lives with honesty and intention to heal, restore, and move into healthier places.  You have inspired me and delighted me as we watched something transform before our eyes from raw pain to new life.  I removed my shoes as I knew the sacredness of your story and the dark places you were braving right there in my office. These blogs I have created are hopefully ties back to you.  Often, continuing therapy for years is not an option nor is it appropriate or helpful.  In our work together you heard me say that it is my intention to “work myself out of a job”.  And if you are reading this blog addressed to past clients, you may no longer be a current client, and so hopefully, that is what I did!  

What I want to tell you is this; I have changed.  A lot.  I hope you have too.  Even a little. My theology, philosophies, ideologies and focus are progressing and changing.  As my consciousness grows, I am continually re-examining statements, beliefs, and firm lines I have drawn in the past. I am realizing they cannot fit into this new picture I am seeing without pushing out love.  We are all faced with the decision to stay with what we have known and what has worked in the past or we change, move beyond our old ways of viewing the world, and evolve into something different. This is not an easy process.  It feels like dying in some ways to my “old self” or like a seed falling to the ground so it can hopefully take root in fertile soil.  I often find myself in good company with the teachers of the law who questioned Jesus’ subversive and radical ways of being in his culture. Only to realize that my “old way” ultimately draws lines between “in and out” and “good and bad”.  This dualistic thinking impairs my ability to see a third way, a path of love and making room and setting a banquet table for everyone.

I am growing to understand God in a more expansive way than ever before.  As I do, I continually am going back again and again to the scriptures lest I lose myself. Ironically, those scriptures tell me in order to gain my life I must lose it.  So I find myself uprooted often.  This uprooting draws me back to the teachings of Jesus again, now with fresh eyes and sometimes I cannot believe that I didn’t see it there before, how progressive he was.  That he “uprooted” people from the place where he found them, calling them away from steady jobs, family members and old patterns of thinking.  The essentials that people clung to for certainty were some of the first places he asked them to release, whether it was an agenda (going to bury a father who had passed away), breaking a law (in order to heal someone and give compassion), breaking social norms and rules (speaking to a woman at the well), or refusing to judge an immoral person (by not casting a stone).  

This alignment with a radical and subversive Jesus doesn’t feel as safe and orderly as I once felt.  In fact, I find it doesn’t often fit within the church’s walls or the women’s Bible studies I used to attend.  I don’t “look” as good.  I look a little unruly and heretical at times.  But then I remember who I follow, and he was so unruly that the good orderly people put him to death.  As I wake up to this truer Jesus, I am humbled again, because I know in 10 more years or less I will be saying something similar to my new “past clients” about how much I have changed.  I may even say something about this new wine that cannot be put in old wineskins.  So, past clients, I hope you are finding yourselves on sacred ground daily and maybe once in a while removing your shoes.  I hope you are grateful to your younger self for the work you did to grow you to this place, and that you continue to do work as you realize how big and expansive and messy the table might be where you find yourself.



Kellie Ulrich