Prayer Plus Struggle

8kkpThe sun was just going down as Maryām made her way through the narrow streets, trying to keep to back-alleys so no one noticed her. She had made this journey dozens of times before, always careful each time to do it slightly differently each time to avoid suspicion.

Her official name was Bushra, but after her secret baptism friends called her by the Christian name Maryām. She had converted from Islam to Christianity three years ago after her friend from work, Khadijah, gave her a Bible. This evening Maryām was headed to the house of Khadijah’s parents, who held secret prayer meetings every Tuesday.

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Hollowing Out the Habits of Attention (Part 5 )

To read earlier posts in this series, click here.

One morning, on a brisk autumnal day in 2015, I drove myself to the hospital in Spokane Washington. My destination was the office of an expert psychiatrist, Dr. Zimmermann.

After parking my car and finding the appropriate building, I took a long elevator ride to the top of the hospital building where my psychiatrist evaluation would commence.

I had been told that Dr. Zimmermann might be able to help with some mental, emotional and physical problems I had developed earlier in the year. Still, I was a little nervous. I liked psychologists and professional counselors—warm-hearted people who listened to your problems with infinite patience. But I was nervous about psychiatrists, who I envisioned walking around in white coats dispensing prescription drugs that merely masked over people’s real problems. Did Dr. Zimmermann fit the stereotype? I would find out in a few minutes.

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