1997. Fall. Just looking for a little down time, I stroll alone into a small arthouse movie theater in the Castro district of San Francisco. I’m not intent on seeing a specific film and select a documentary called Waco: The Rules of Engagement (probably due to a convenient start time). Roughly two hours later, I leave the theater literally sobbing, my heart feeling violently cleaved in two by what I could only describe later as a loss of innocence. For the first time in my life, I became genuinely suicidal, my mind swimming with a furious tempest of questions and doubts and frustrations, uncertain whether I could foresee myself willingly participating in a society so cruel, so senseless, so (for lack of a better word) evil.
One of my fondest counseling experiences was with a single mother who came to me seeking help for her fifteen-year-old daughter, who she described as having poor social skills and issues with explosive anger. The mother was exasperated because she and her daughter fought constantly and the daughter was starting to get into fights at school. In the mother’s mind, her daughter needed help to learn how to better handle her emotions. She was hopeful that I could assist.