I believe in you

I believe in you

I believe in you?

I believe in you ?. Have you ever experienced a real low spot in your life and wondered how you were going to get back on your feet again? Or, how you’re going to feel happiness or joy again?  Maybe you’ve wondered what it might take for you to be able to experience the feeling of self-respect again.

Throughout my life…

I’ve found that a significant number of people, myself included, have phases in their life where a variation of those types of thoughts and feelings descend on them like a cloud.  Many people find one way or another to push the feelings down,  and many others are fortunate enough to seek help, which allows them to recover, and they go on to live a reasonably happy life.

In recent times I’ve been thinking about an interaction I had with someone about thirty years ago.   It was a time in my life when I was extremely unwell, and I’d almost given up all hope of ever recovering.  I’d been in the hospital for several weeks, and one evening two people came to visit me.  One person was a friend of mine, and the other person was their friend.  Even in my unwell state, I sensed that the friend’s friend had just come to support their friend.  As I was in a lonely and desolate place emotionally, I welcomed and appreciated their visit and their company.

We talked about old times and for a while, I almost felt ‘normal’ again…whatever ‘normal’ was meant to be!

After an hour or so my visitors were getting ready to say goodbye to me, but just before they left, the friend of my friend reached into the pocket of their jacket.  They then took my hands and gave me a small laminated card with a verse on it.

All these years later…

I can still remember the way that I felt when I read what was written on that card.  I looked at my friend’s friend with tears in my eyes, and I thanked them for their kindness towards me.

This one experience proved to me that even when we don’t know someone, a glimmer of hope that’s given with loving-kindness can make such a positive impact on a person’s life.   A gesture like this one can help people to give life another try.

When the intention is to mirror the goodness that we can see in another, it can help the other person to see that little spark of light and that can be enough to encourage them to invest in life again.

This is the verse by Bruce B Wilmer that was on that small laminated card:

I Believe in You

The challenges you now confront
In all you’re going through
Help me see the many ways
That I believe in you.

It’s hard for me to realise
The things that you must face
And though I try I can’t completely step into your place.

But something in my knowledge
Of the depth and soul of you
Gives to every real concern
An optimistic hue.

For when you must respond to life
With pure determination
Your answer to the challenge
Is a source of inspiration.

And through each day’s uncertainty
The future oft obscures,
My hope for you is strong and my belief in you endures.

The potential impact of presence and kindness…

This particular experience helped me to understand the importance of never underestimating a chance meeting or my presence in someone else’s life, and to always try to make the best use of opportunities to extend kindness.

Thirty years later, I can see in my mind’s eye the face of my friend’s friend, and my heart still holds the imprint of their kindness towards me.  And, lest I forget, I always carry that same small laminated card with that verse in my purse.

Why? Because it’s a constant reminder to me to be positive and kindhearted towards other people, and it helps me to remember the importance of being kind to people whose journey I know little or nothing about.

Rev Caroline Lennon Certified Civil Celebrant and Interfaith Minister based in Ireland. As a non-denominational Minister, there are no limitations to the personal ceremony that can be created exactly as you wish.

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Spiritual Counselling and Holy Encounters

Spiritual Counselling and Holy Encounters

Holy Encounters

Spiritual Counselling and Holy Encounters: As far back as I can remember, I’ve always found it easy to befriend strangers.  I’m not sure why it takes such little effort for me to make friends so easily.  Perhaps it’s because I’m a person who likes people and enjoys getting to know them.  I love to hear about other people’s life experiences and to sit with them for a while. 

Spiritual Counselling and Holy EncountersIn February 2006, whilst visiting New York for a long weekend, I decided to go for a walk during my second day there.  As I didn’t know my way around the city, I ended up walking for hours, and eventually strayed into an area that didn’t look too friendly.  Then, on a street that was almost deserted, a man approached me looking for “money” or a “cell phone”.  

At that moment I felt afraid because I thought that this man was going to attack me or steal from me.  However, my gut instinct was to open up my purse and invite him to take whatever he needed, and that’s exactly what I did.  I remained calm and said to him:


“I’m not sure what you need, so please, help yourself”. 


The man looked at me in disbelief or as though I was mentally unbalanced.  He then cautiously picked out some coins from my purse.  I showed him my phone and offered it to him in case he needed to make a phone call.  I explained that I was just visiting from Ireland.  I had a picture of my son on my phone, and as it happened, this man also had a son about the same age.  We then struck up a conversation that lasted several hours.  It seemed as if this man’s entire life was in the small bag which he was carrying on his back.  He opened up his bag and amongst other things, it contained numerous photos of his son.  


As we chatted, he told me with a real sense of sadness that his son had been in foster care for most of his life.  He had several newspaper articles in his bag that featured his son, and he seemed delighted to show them to me.  This man’s son was a successful basketball player and his father was incredibly proud of him. 

It’s amazing to see what happens when we take time to look beyond the superficial

His face was scarred and it was obvious from my conversation with him that he’d had a difficult life.   He was no stranger to substance abuse and rough living.  His head was bandaged, and his body was frail and undernourished.  His clothes were dirty, and he looked disheveled. 


It was obvious he found it most peculiar that I was interested in talking to him.  He told me that people driving by would be wondering what the “white woman” was doing talking to him.  Shortly after meeting him, he was referring to me as his “Irish angel”, whereas I believe that he was my “New York angel”.   It was such an excellent example of why it’s important to see the light in others and to treat them as if that is all we see.


This chance meeting with James on a street in New York was truly a ‘holy’ encounter for both of us.  It was a point in time when the light in me connected to the light in him; consequently, all obstacles to communication were removed. 

Rev Caroline Lennon

Certified Civil Celebrant and Interfaith Minister based in Ireland. As a non-denominational Minister, there are no limitations to the personal ceremony that can be created exactly as you wish.

Spiritual Counselling, Spiritual Well-Being and Mental Health

Spiritual Counselling, Spiritual Well-Being and Mental Health

Spiritual Counselling, Spiritual Well-Being and Mental Health


In recent years there’s greater awareness of the positive impact that spiritual fitness or well-being has on our mental health.  

Major faith paths and organised religions can meet this need for people, however, there are a number of fundamental differences between religion and spirituality.  These are some of the differences that have been identified by Deepak Chopra, and which resonate with me:

  • There are no rules to spirituality
  • Spirituality is based on love and not on fear
  • Religion tells you the truth – Spirituality lets you discover it
  • Religion separates, spirituality unites
  • The difference between karma and punishment  
  • Walk your own path

“Religion is belief in someone else’s experience. Spirituality is having your own experience.”

It’s interesting that 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon have for many decades now connected with the importance of spirituality and having a connection with a God of our own understanding.

People attending 12-step groups reach out for help, acknowledge their powerlessness, and surrender their unwellness, to something greater than themselves; which, in essence, is the first step of the 12-step programme.

Step-2 of the 12-step programme states: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” And, step-3 is: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

Other people experiencing dis-ease in their life may opt to go down the route of formal counselling, psychotherapy or spiritual counselling.

What’s spiritual counselling?

The framework used for spiritual counselling isn’t unlike what’s used for counselling and psychotherapy; however, in my personal experience, the process is significantly different.  What’s ‘different’ and appealing about spiritual counselling is something that I initially only read about, but I’ve since been blessed to experience for myself. The ‘difference’ between counselling/psychotherapy is subtle and elusive and can sometimes be difficult to even put into words.  In the process of spiritual counselling, grace is placed before psychology. The intentionality of inviting the God of our understanding to guide and direct the spiritual counselling process is crucial in the process of spiritual counselling.

The impact of spiritual counselling can be instantaneous, although it may also be the case that there’s nothing particularly outstanding about the process and outcome of spiritual counselling either during or after a session – in fact, in my experience it can be days, weeks or even months after a spiritual counselling session before the truth really emerges or begins to make sense.  I’ve experienced it as the unravelling of old ideas, which in turn helped me to see the light. The truth of a situation comes to light in God’s time rather than in our time, when we’re eventually able to face that particular aspect of ourselves, and to integrate whatever learning that’s been made available to us through the spiritual counselling relationship.

Spiritual counselling can provide the opportunity to discover and explore our personal connection with the God of our understanding and to come to know that we are one.

Rev Caroline Lennon

Certified Civil Celebrant and Interfaith Minister based in Ireland. As a non-denominational Minister, there are no limitations to the personal ceremony that can be created exactly as you wish.

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