• Rev. Carlene Appel-M.Div.

Lessons from the Sidewalk

Updated: Aug 16, 2019

The day was going super well. I had had a productive morning as an exhibitor at a Senior Day Fair, the day was beautiful and all was good. It was 1300 hours and I was on my way to visit a new patient. At 1340, parked my F-150 and walked toward the next block where my destination awaited.

Suddenly, I felt my nose crumple flat, and I was face-to-cement with the sidewalk point blank. Said another way, I tripped and my face just got planted into the sidewalk. (I prefer planting flowers, actually) Laying there and moaning, all I could think about was "I've got to wipe myself off and go see my patient." Yes, I can picture all you dedicated healthcare professionals out there nodding. That is until I was lifting my face up and saw blood dripping onto the sidewalk. Maybe, but not today, I finally realized.

Lesson 1-Sometimes, no matter how set we are on doing something, circumstances can overrule us. In this case it was a cracked sidewalk, a shoe that caught one of the edges of it, and gravity. Remember, gravity isn't a concept, a theory or a nice idea. It's the law!

As I was moaning in pain, and saying "No, No, No repeatedly, I heard someone call out, "Are you alright?" Looking down the sidewalk I saw a woman and a young man coming toward me. This is what I called "the God part of the story." As it turned out, the woman was a nurse and had seen the entire thing unfold. Why do I call this the "God part"? First, what are the chances when you have an accident, a medical emergency no less, that a medical professional would be in just the right place at the right time and witness the whole thing? Even better, how about a medical professional who lives a mere two houses away from where you went down? Well that was the case in my case. Second, the young man with her, a step-son, was named, Isaiah, the name of one of the most significant Old Testament prophets.

Lesson 2- God is never far away from us. Just like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus didn't recognize the stranger as the risen Christ, until he broke bread (Luke 24:13-35),God gave me evidence that was way too "coincidental" to just be mere coincidences. To the contrary, Divine fingerprints were all over these.

Friends, evidence for God's desire to be in a close,loving relationship with us started at the beginning of time when He first created the world, created the first couple. Even after they got evicted from the Garden, God still reached out and clothed them (Gen. 3:21). Then some 2,100 years ago, He reached out to us through, His Son, Jesus Christ. Not with religion, but with relationship. Big difference. Religion is a human construct. Relationship? 100% God's concept, creation, reality. An older pop song asks, "What if God was one of us?" In Christ, He was.

What's my big takeaway from the sidewalk encounter? That God is still reaching out to us, even today. And He's never far away from us. He wants to get up close and personal. Go ahead-ask Him yourself. He doesn't bite---honestly. Let go, and let God.

Next time people,

Rev. Carlene

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frequently asked questions










Is New Day just for people who are religious?

Not at all. Owner, Rev. Carlene Appel, works with all people regardless of whether or not they hold to a particular faith, or set of beliefs. She has even worked with atheists under Hospice care.


How does Pastoral Counseling differ from regular Counseling?

In addition to Counseling, a Pastoral Counselor also has specialized education and training in matters of spirituality, religious faith, and different religions. Thus, if a client wishes to include any of these during their sessions, a Pastoral Counselor is qualified and competent to do so.


Rev. Carlene holds a Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.), from Northern Seminary, and is an Ordained American Baptist minister. Additionally, having been raised Roman Catholic, she has been able to help countless numbers of Catholics every year. Over the past year, she has become a vessel of healing to survivors of predator priests. 


Is New Day a faith-based Counseling Practice?

Yes. This means Rev. Carlene or any Counselor working for New Day, won't discourage clients from exploring their spirituality or faith-related questions. Some clients have had questions of faith for years, but fear rejection from their clergy or people they have been worshipping with. Some have walked away from their faith or religion entirely. 


Wait a minute, aren't faith and religion the same thing?

Not at all. Religion is a human-constructed system providing a set of specific organized beliefs. While many find religion helpful to explain life, provide a moral compass, and connect them to the Divine, others do not. Some have suffered abuse or been otherwise deeply hurt by clergy or religious people.


OK, so how is faith different from religion then?

Faith, is something we are endowed with by our Creator. We first utilize faith shortly after birth. Though not aware of it or what it is, a helpless newborn, if not abused or neglected, soon develops a sense of faith and trust that s/he will have their needs met. While most people have faith in the God of their understanding, others claim faith in Science, nature, or even their own abilities. On a more basic level, humans practice blind faith every day that their car is going to run, that they will get to work, school, & back home safely, and that they will live to see another day.


I've heard that New Day is Christ-centered. What does that mean?

Glad you asked. It's a way of being. New Day strives to imitate Christ in the way business is conducted and how we treat all people, not just our clients. This means standing beside someone, not over them and building relationships with people regardless of race, class or gender. Being honest, ethical, accountable; practicing good listening skills. Extending compassion, dignity, grace, forgiveness, mercy, respect, and unconditional love. It also includes speaking up about and holding people accountable for injustices, and not keeping silent when they plan or are actively doing damaging & destructive acts to themselves or others.

So a New Day Counselor won't push religion on me?

Absolutely not! That would be very un-Christlike. He was always invitational and respected a person's choice. New Day strives to always imitate Jesus Christ. So whether you're religious or not, it doesn't matter. We stand ready to help: if you are dealing with depression, grief, trauma, abuse, marital conflict, etc. If you need mentoring, life coaching, or premarital counseling. If you have become disabled. If you have a loved one with Alzheimer's or Dementia.


Whoever you are, New Day invites you to lay your burdens down with us and experience compassiona