Jesus of Nazareth Goes to Therapy

Good morning, Jesus. Thanks for asking; I’m well. And how are You? Did You try that little Italian place I recommended on Broadway and 65th? Okay. Well, we can work on Your feelings towards the Romans another time. Have You tried listening to that podcast I recommended about letting go of the past? It’s not healthy to carry those feelings around for millennia.


So, I understand You have a bit of an anniversary coming up this weekend. How has this week been going? Uh huh. Mmm. Well, these types of things are hard for everyone. Birthdays. Holidays. The day You died. Perfectly understandable. So, would I be correct in saying, then, that the anniversary of Your brutal execution arouses some feelings of anxiety? Okay, “anxiety” is maybe too strong a word. Unease?


No, please, help Yourself to a tissue. They’re in the—that’s right. Sorry, I always forget that You already know.


Anyway, can You pinpoint exactly what it is about Easter that gives You unease, as You put it? Mmm, yeah, sure. The forty lashes, right. Well, that’ll do it. On the other hand, wasn’t Your death foretold as the salvation of humanity? A new covenant, as You’ve said, between God and man?


Interesting. Uh huh. Uh huh. Can You elaborate on that? Mmm. Jesus, stepping back, if Your Father hadn’t taken such an active role in Your choice of career, are You saying You would have chosen something other than being Savior? Uh-huh. Sure, being a minstrel sounds good, too. Did Your Father ever speak to You about this interest in music? I see. Good enough for ordinary people, but not for His son. I see. Well, a lot of successful men have trouble reconciling their professional and personal lives in that sort of way, and it invariably affects the children. Well, as a rule, I can’t name my clients, but in this case, You obviously already know, so: Rob Reiner. Reese Witherspoon. Vishnu. Like I said, very common.


And of course, Your adopted father also taught You a trade, didn’t he? Joseph. What do You remember about that time? Uh huh. Frequently, Jesus, we look back as adults on the ways we treated our parents or guardians when we were children and feel remorse. It’s no wonder You pushed him away like that, given Your, shall we say, strained relationship with Your birth Father.


No, Jesus, many children with separated parents react in exactly that way. Of course—all You wanted was a family like Peter’s or John’s. But it wasn’t Your job to keep Your parents together. I think that ties back to what we discussed about not taking responsibility for other people’s problems. Did You read that book I gave You about family dynamics? Because this is classic Golden Child behavior, actually.


Jesus, what do You think would happen if You shared some of these thoughts with Your Father? Talking to Yourself? I—To be honest, Jesus, I never understood the whole three-in-one Trinity thing. Let’s try to focus on the terrestrial plane in these sessions, if we can. Do You think Your Father would be angry if You told Him how You feel? Hurt? Wrathful? Given what I know about Him, I find it hard to believe He “wouldn’t care.” Caring, as I understand it, is His thing. Yes, well, You’re right, there is plenty of starvation in the world. Yes, I did read that report in the Times about Yemen. Really tragic. Well, remember when we discussed different parenting styles. Let’s be careful about projecting our own needs onto others.


Can You recall a time that You did confront Your Father and tell Him how You feel? Apropos of what we were discussing at the beginning of our session, I remember You’ve mentioned the Garden of Gethsemane. You felt a lot of agony that night, didn’t You? What did You tell Your Father that night, confronted as You were with Your imminent betrayal and death? Uh huh. And did He respond? Interesting. And when He revealed the breadth of the cosmos to You, how did that make You feel? Well, maybe that wouldn’t have been a good time for a game of catch.


Stop me if I’m overreaching, Jesus, but do You think some of this unease You feel during Holy Week is perhaps related to this unresolved conflict with Your Father? It occurs to me that sometimes our parents challenge us as a way to give us a push down the path to maturity, or—right, ascension. Tell me, why have You taken such a different path as deity than Your Father? Your Father obliterated nearly all of human existence with a devastating flood. You like to inspire people by putting Your likeness on grilled cheese sandwiches. You see the different approaches here. What do You think will happen if You judge humanity? Do You think they’ll leave? Interesting. Why do You think they’ll judge You back?


It’s intriguing to me that You’re so averse to judging humanity, and yet You’ve held onto these resentments toward Your Father now for a couple millennia. What if we tried reserving some of that compassion You feel toward humanity for the One who created You? After all, He was only 4,000, 5,000 years old at the time. He was perhaps ill-equipped to be both a creator and a dad.


Jesus, I’m afraid we’re coming near the end of our time—that’s very sweet, but instead of staying here to heal her, as part of our codependency work, let’s let Mrs. Apfelbaum process her sleep anxiety on her own. Anyway, I’d like to go over some homework for next time. First, this Easter, instead of going down to Your mother’s, let’s try spending the morning with Your Father. And second, I know we didn’t have time to get to the marriage issues this session, but I’d really like to see You and Mary Magdalene try that salsa dance class.


Oh, and Jesus? Unfortunately, I don’t take Cigna anymore.