Errol Ball was trapped in the wilderness of his own life. His marriage was tenuous, he was questioning his religious beliefs and was doing reckless things in hope of producing reckless outcomes.
He likened his situation to the part in the movie The Ten Commandments when, despite hesitancy from the older and supposedly wiser ones, God leads the people through the Red Sea, in effect teaching them about themselves and about Him.
“In the wilderness of our life,” writes Ball, a physician and a minister, in his self-reflective book Functional Dysfunction: From Sour Grapes to Fine Wine (Face 2 Face Productions), “our old habits, ways of thinking, self-image and ways of responding to outside stimuli must die so that a new and better way — a cognitive-behavioral shift — will rise to the surface. But it is a process that can only be learned in the wilderness.”
INTO THE WILD
Ball’s wilderness set in during his childhood when he only craved love, which he lacked, and lived in fear of his father’s rule via the leather belt. While many people try to emulate their parents’ behavior when they grow up, others take careful note of what not to do based on their own difficult childhood experiences. He labeled himself anxious-preoccupied. “I was low on avoidance and high on anxiety,” seeking closeness and intimacy but insecure about relationships. All he knew for sure was that he had to forge a new path — from sour grapes to fine wine.
The path was not without bumps, his pain a carryover from feeling devalued as a child and what he perceived as being disrespected as an adult. At one point, he contemplates putting himself in a situation through which he would freeze to death. Only the kind words of a total stranger set him straight and helped him make a course correction.
Ball sees that his calling is to become a minister and a physician – positions dedicated to helping others heal and feel support.
RELEASE CONTROL, ADJUST TO THE TEMPERATURE
A key lesson for Ball was trying to understand the limits of what he actually could and could not control.
“Through it all, my source of energy and my guiding purpose was ministering to souls in need of encouragement and bodies in need of wholeness. I had learned to only focus on what was within my ability and responsibility to control.” As he so aptly says, “I found peace in knowing it is not my job to control the temperature in the room, but it is my job to dress for that temperature.”
Ball’s story is heartfelt, raw, and filled with anecdotes that colorfully tell his story and explain his thoughts and emotions. It is gut-wrenching and gratifying at the same time.
He says readers must be ready to face head-on the “metaphorical scorpions, snakes and other painful encounters that lie in wait” without being sidetracked in your pursuit. “I now share my story to help others along their journey, not in a quest for approval or accolades. My scars tell my story, and if that story can help someone else, then it is worth sharing.”