Inspiration Comes in the Wind

By Johnathan Sumpter — Sitting mid-way back from the giant arching marble altar of the Church of the Gesu, swimming in the echoes of Fr. Jonas’ homily, perhaps being consumed a bit more with thoughts of counseling client cases than anything liturgical, a pearl of wisdom broke its way through.

Elijah is hanging out in a mountain cave waiting for God to show up while there is a hurricane, an earthquake, and a giant fire- none of which were paralleled to the whisper of a breeze holding God’s voice. The magnitude of this spoken word moved Elijah to hide his face and go to God.

Sometimes I feel like I am in a mountain cave, waiting for the world to shake and “fix” the problems of my clients. I deal with a multitude of diagnoses ranging from routine life adjustments to depression, schizophrenia, and the like. I sit with patients in the acute ward with cancer, awaiting amputations, with holes in places nature did not intend holes to be, and families biding time as a loved one’s clock ticks down.

In each instance, I have an innate urge to take ownership of their reins and steer them to safety. If I could only but will the earth to move, or the winds of time to alter the outcome of their lives, or my own feeble mind to see beyond my lofty mountain cave and know which route to take.

But then, I remember that I’m not supposed to know everything (a mantra of my supervisor and professors). I was reminded of Socrates’ credo (another cave fan): “as for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” Perhaps giving myself a little more credit than that, but maintaining the spirit of discovery over presuming to hold all answers alive; I find the place that creates space for the emotional hurricane to wreak destruction, for the bottom of the earth to fall out, for the fire of anger and anxiety to flame, all the while safe in the space of the counseling process.

The battle for clinical structure with another person in a counseling room indeed is first won with the ability to sit in a room alone with myself, with my own emotions and cognitions. Luckily I have quite a bit of experience in being self-reflective. Even still, the more experiences I share with others, the more I come to know and learn about myself. The more I learn to sit with myself, the more comfortable I become with my clients.


Johnathan Sumpter is a native of the Texas Panhandle, but is currently enjoying the cooler weather in Wisconsin. He is a Masters student in the Community Counseling General Adult Track and is completing an internship placement at Aurora Family Services and at Aurora West Allis Memorial in the Acute Care for the Elderly Ward. Jonathon also works at group homes for developmentally disabled adults.  Prior to attending Marquette, Jonathon attended the seminary, worked in youth and young adult ministries and as a spiritual director.  He has worked with a variety of programs assisting children, and has been involved with community development programs in Honduras, Peru, and Mexico.

1 Response to “Inspiration Comes in the Wind”

  1. 1 johnathansumpter Trackback on September 14, 2011 at 9:29 am

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