A mighty thaw

James E. Hayes, D. Min., M. Div., Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

January 2018 – A reflection by Jim Hayes, Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center.


Winter 2018 certainly struck with a sudden and wicked fury. It’s cold! We closed the Center and 2017 on the afternoon of 29 December, heading home to celebrate the New Year long holiday weekend and the great work that happened here during the year.

When we returned to the Center after the holiday, we quickly discovered that long weekends, still water and frigid temperatures don’t blend well. Our sewer pipe had frozen over the weekend and the backup into our drains was hardly a delightful way to welcome the New Year. Many on our team quickly transitioned from the mundane to crisis mode.

There must be a lesson in this, I thought to myself.

The thought rose as I was fulfilling that part of a job description that most employees dread: “Other duties as assigned.” It was midnight and I was spending some quality time with a qualified employee from a sewer service. It was hard, cold and unpleasant work—but it needed to be done. Interesting what a simple pleasure it is to hear water flowing again after a few hours of wrestling with an ice dam. I was giddy knowing that we were once again operational and ready for our highly trained staff to help others on their path to understanding, hope and healing.

What did I learn from this? I thought to myself?

Many of the clients we serve are stuck in the mundane and not recognizing blocked emotions or negative thoughts that keep them from “flow,” living a full life. Then it happens, a crisis which renders the status quo untenable. Thankfully, through the advice of loved ones or learned referral services, they find their way to the Center and our qualified staff. Then the hard work begins. It can often lead to exploration of cold and dark places. Sometimes it is so unpleasant, that they are tempted to give up. Then it happens. Through teamwork and shared responsibility in the healing process a trickle of hope leads to a mighty thaw and flowing, lively waters. Call it wellness, well-being, a full life or whatever image or words work for you.

I just know it’s inspiring work and I’m grateful to be a part of this story.

Thank you for all you do to engage in our mission. I hope your connection to this special place regularly provides life lessons for you and yours.

May your 2018 be full of joy and blessings.



More blog posts from Jim Hayes here: www.dmpcc.org/Jim