C. Errol Ball suffered immensely in his youth. Out of this pain was born a lifestyle that didn’t serve him well at all; he engaged in activities that he didn’t personally believe in and barely even knew why. Basically, he was lost. Something had to change, and thankfully, it did, and now he tells the tale in his deeply personal book Functional Dysfunction: From Sour Grapes to Fine Wine as a way of giving back.
Here, the doctor, minister and author discusses the ways that, despite these titles and labels, he’s not all that different from any other given individual. From dismantling the idea of control to detailing an emergence from the wilderness of your previously habitual life, he goes into the steps needed to take the big step forward into your brave new world. Read our review of the book here.
Q: Why did you write Functional Dysfunction?
A: The more I interacted with patients and dealt with youth after becoming a youth minister years ago, and heard the cries of the young in its many forms, the more it caused me to reflect. It then caused me to be more transparent. They see me as some upstanding, “perfect” minister and doctor who cannot relate to the inner wounds of the soul. I am more like them than they realize, so I chose to share my story in the hope to move someone from the paralysis of emotional arrest so they can truly live again
Q: You say that in order to emerge from your own wilderness of life, you must go through a process in which you are totally immersed in that wilderness. Can you elaborate on this?
A: Many are lost and don’t know it. Their life has no purpose or plan or direction. Many people are in self-denial. They tell themselves as life is good because they develop the “fake it until you make it mentality.” However, even then, you have to have a “make it” plan. So as the first step in emerging from your wilderness experience, you have to be brutally honest with yourself and see that you are in a barren land. For some, it’s too difficult of a confession to acknowledge. So they remain the same. For others, there is pain in accepting this reality, pain in seeing some years wasted in “wearing the mask” of “I am just fine.” And they also see there is pain in change, and they choose that path that moves them forward.
Q: How does the idea of “control” impact your course in life?
A: There have been polarizing phases in my concept of control. On one end of the spectrum, it was an instrument to protect me from hurt or shame, it was restrictive and confining and limiting. On the other end, I see it now as liberating, freeing, comforting and relaxing to know there is a lot more in life out of my control than there is within my control. Worrying, at its root, is really being preoccupied with someone else’s problem, whether that other person is a higher power or another person. I stay in my lane, so to speak. With things that I have the responsibility to control, I do my best. Anything else, I don’t invest too much energy into it.
Q: Was this book painful for you to write? What was the toughest part?
A: It was both painful and healing of the pain it caused. Reflecting on my brother’s beating I find extremely hard. I felt helplessness, anger and confusion. Here is my best friend getting pulverized and I couldn’t do anything about it. Then the one inflicting the pain is my father. Try taking that to bed, I did. I would say that the other tough thing was accepting that, at least in my case, we all played our parts in looking the part of the perfect family. I would have never healed, living in that untruth. Dysfunction is dysfunctional and I had to see it for what it was: difficult is an understatement. It’s my family, my origin.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from reading this book? How difficult will it be for them to face their demons head-on and emerge?
A: Those skeletons in your closet are not dead. They are alive and will continue to haunt you emotionally and psychologically, which can affect you physically. You have to open that closet and slay them once and for all. Give them a decent burial so that you can heal. I hope that my readers see that they don’t have to settle and say, “this is just who I am, take it or leave it.” Often when we hear this it’s a statement of concession. It’s the voice of someone saying, “you don’t know how hard and long I have tried, and I see I am not changing, but will just be this way.” The book will show them that sometimes you have to power through, and walk through the pain trusting in your inner being that you will come out on the other side better, stronger, wiser and more loving to others as well as yourself.
Q: Any other thoughts to share about your journey in writing this book?
A: I am just getting started. Be on the lookout for www.curtiseball.com, where I will be combining the tri-vocational aspects of me in one place as I promote my not-for-profit ministry called Face2Face Ministries. I travel to South America to provide healthcare and hope for the otherwise hopeless. I’m also at home, providing topic-specific bible studies. Sometimes the topics are as piercing as “does God still see me as a virgin if I was raped,” as a 14-year-old asked in the group. I humbly stand in the gap via this ministry to do my small part in helping those I come in contact with become all they were intended to become. Also on this site is my author page, where I discuss other books in progress. Lastly on this page is access to me as a physician via virtual medicine. I am excited about life and looking forward to the new things I can learn each day.