Apr 6, 2010

The Long Road by Anne Vincent



People have often told me that the most difficult speech to write is the shortest one, that your toughest audience is the smallest one. I believe both of these to be true. And I also believe that the most worthwhile things in life may indeed take a very long time to develop.

Our project began in 1996 at the encouragement of our practice clients and at the request of the Spiritual Journeys Class (a program my mother started 27 years ago) at First Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN.

I have boxes of drafts, dozens of hours of tape recordings, and binders of ideas for chapter titles and illustrations. Did all of these elements become incorporated into the final form of “The Way to Stillness”? Certainly not – many dropped away like old winter coats. Over the past 14 years, a journey through deaths, divorce, illnesses, and the onset of Gayle’s vascular dementia provided numerous opportunities to give up our writing.

However, even through the dark days of her progressive illness and deterioration of her short term memory, “The Book” (as Gayle likes to call it) remained her Light. My mother and I are extremely different in many ways which made the building of a counseling practice together since 1989 quite challenging. One day, she quietly whispered in my ear, “Honey, I really do realize I am difficult to work with at times.”

Our common goal and vision to feed as many souls as possible with the truth of our experience has always triumphed over our differences. My years of intensive communication with Gayle served us both well in the process. She often struggled to articulate a misplaced word or phrase slipping just outside her mental grasp as her always been brilliant brain began to fail her. I could usually supply it for her.

Even in the sadness, frustration, and anger of the dawning reality of her disability, my constant question to her has been: “ Mom, how will it feel for you to be an author by the age of 90?” Always a grin spread across her beautiful face.

With so many setbacks, it often seemed we were so “behind” in this process – that we were not going to beat the clock – that we might not make it. At the time of this post, I’m pleased to say that we are 3 years ahead of schedule (she’s 87). Don’t you think this brings a smile to her face?




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Anne Alexander Vincent, Ordained Minister of Pastoral Counseling, is the Owner of Cottage in the Woods, a licensed ministry center of the National Christian Counselors Association. She is completing her PhD in Clinical Christian Counseling through the NCCA. With more than 30 years of counseling experience, she has completed her 8th year of intensive training under Dr Patrick Carnes, PhD as a Certified Multiple Addictions Therapist and Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist and with the International Trauma and Addiction Professionals as a Trauma and Addictions Therapist.

You can find Anne online at http://annescottageinthewoods.com/

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