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The Prayer Seeker


The past may also become important, in terms of experiences of your Christianity that
you might or might not have had, but we don’t dwell in it. If you like, we use it to shed
light on what’s happening now, so it’s a tool, rather than an aim. Does that make sense to
you?”
Michael blinked. He couldn’t find fault with anything the other man had said, but it
had felt very much like standing in the sea and being overcome by a sudden tidal wave of
information. Taken by surprise like this, he opened his mouth and said the first thing that
came to mind.
“For a Jungian psychoanalyst, you’re very …”
“… sharp and rather more to the point than you expected?” Chris laughed and sat
back in his chair. “Yes, it has been mentioned before. In which case, I apologise. It
wasn’t my intention to browbeat you with words. But God is evidently important to you
and, by coming here, you’re stating that in a committed way, or the beginnings of one. So
I wanted to make it clear how we can go about it. Am I succeeding in that aim?”
This time, an answer was required so Michael nodded. Chris smiled, and the
expression transformed his face so he appeared suddenly less like a strict schoolmaster
and more like an ordinary man.
“Good,” he said. “So why don’t you tell me a little of what you’re after, Michael?
And what has brought you to this point.”
Michael did so. Almost in the same way as he’d described it to John, but he was
more confident with the telling of it now. He also found he was more succinct, framing
his words in a way he imagined would be better suited to the man he was with.
When he’d finished, he fell silent and Chris too didn’t immediately respond. When
Michael glanced up at him, he saw his eyes were closed. The next moment he opened
them and gave Michael another of those bright smiles, but what he said then was the most
startling thing of all.
“Thank you,” he said. “Most interesting. Now, why don’t you take me back to the
beginning of your faith. Tell me how you first became a Christian.”
Michael had never told anyone this as it had seemed too private a matter to speak of,
something meant only for him. Part of him was scared that the telling itself would
weaken the memory, but in truth he had not thought often of what had happened to turn
him to Christianity. He had shied away from that version of himself.
Now he found it was as clear in his mind as if it had happened yesterday, and not
over thirty years ago.
He had been a young man, barely even that. Coming up to eighteen and preparing for
university, hardly old enough to know his own mind or to sift his own experiences. Ah
but it had been real, very real. No matter what, that could not be taken away from him,
could it?
There had been a good friend at school, called Paul. When they were both sixteen,
Paul became a Christian. It had been a sudden change, unexpected to Michael who’d
never paid much attention to religion of any kind. It had made him feel uncomfortable
when Paul told him what had happened that summer, but he’d tried not to allow it to
 
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