I’ve been teaching some gifted teenagers about psychology for the last seven Saturdays as a part of my assistantship, and today was the last day of the program. I’ve enjoyed it; I love teaching, and I’m pretty good at it. I’ve even had moments of thinking that I “missed my calling” (like my boss told me), but today, I’m glad it’s over and that I’m going to spend my life doing therapy instead.
I brought my Sigmund Freud action figure today since we were talking briefly about psychoanalysis, and my kids got a kick out of it. I probably shouldn’t have explained the significance of his cigar, but I did. ;) I stopped short, though, of telling them how this action figure is part of my favorite metaphor for life. You see, someone who knew me very well bought this action figure for me several years ago, along with a Jesus action figure, and these two men have been standing side by side on various shelves in various places I’ve lived (Emory, Radford, Ashland, Hattiesburg) ever since. The point of this gift, of course, was that I am a psychology student and a Christian, so these two guys represent my worldview even though they look like a rather strange and humorous pair.
My worldview, though, is obviously not one half psychology and the other half faith. Faith comes first, and psychology is contained by it, guided by it, supported by it. That part of the metaphor has made itself concrete in the action figures too, much to my amusement and, well, inspiration. You see, the Jesus action figure has a broad base and two wheels on the bottom, so it’s very stable. Sigmund, however, has two skinny little feet that don’t always seem to be exactly level. He falls over backward quite easily. That’s why he has to stand so close to Jesus: Jesus’s hand is always right behind Freud’s, propping him up so he doesn’t fall.
It’s funny, yes. But it’s also such a clear picture of God’s sovereignty and love. Christ might appear to be just a part of the story, but none of the other characters would be around if he weren’t there first. Even things that are not “Christian” are able to exist only because of the life given them by God. Sigmund might not notice Jesus standing there at all, but Jesus’s presence is the only thing keeping Sigmund Freud (and me) standing.