The False Counselor

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Word Count: 100
Genre: Fiction

The False Counselor

“What should I do?” she whined.

I met her vacuous eyes, pleased she always gave precedence to my words over others’.

“Forget her! Leave! She’s made her choices, now let her wallow in them!”

“Her children, my grandchildren. They’re still babies . . . .”

“Listen, dear, what’s she ever done to deserve your love?!” I asked, choking back my philosophical angst: can love be love if it’s only deserved?

Maybe she’d have abandoned them without my uttering a word.

But I did.

Now I walk as one divided, my head shorn, then healed, then shorn repeatedly by Hell’s demons.¹


1The judgment described is taken from Dante’s Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto 28, in which the poet describes the ninth ring of the Malebolge where makers of discord are condemned.

So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” (James 3:5-9, bold italics mine)

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25 thoughts on “The False Counselor”

  1. As a retired counselor, this really struck home with me. Do we always give the right counsel? Probably not. Are all our clients’ eyes “vacuous”? No, surely not. But that word made me wonder if the counselor needed to re-examine the profession he had chosen. Sounds to me like he was worn out and had little help to offer

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    1. You are a jack of all trades, Linda — Is there nothing you haven’t done? Counselor, teacher, hotel manager/owner, etc. Although, when I used counselor it was less professionally than informally, one friend counseling another, in this case. Vacuous, only to indicate how little regard the counseling friend had for her. Anyway, hats off to you my friend, for your breadth of experience!

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      1. Thanks, Dora, for the clarification. Makes more sense 🙂

        As for my breadth of experience? Well, you know, I’m old! Seventy-five years, and I wouldn’t trade any of them. The most important work I’ve done, IMO, is to be a wife ,and mom to four. I was an old-fashioned Stay-at -Home mom until my youngest was 10, doing some substitute teaching when I could. God has been very good to me, allowing me to dabble in so many areas, and I am thankful 🙂

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        1. Of course I knew you’re a Mom, and being one myself I’m more than a little ashamed that didn’t top my list of “trades” – except it’s too important to throw alongside casually. I’m a decade and more after you, and I homeschooled K-12, grateful that our Lord Jesus inclined me to with my husband’s support and made it possible. I love the variety in your stories, Linda, hardly surprised any longer at seeing it!

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  2. Interesting philosophical questions. There’s nothing logical about emotions. Can love be withheld if it’s not deserved? Can it be forced if it is? Can it be quantified in either case? Can advice, right or wrong, change one’s feelings?

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    1. They’re all worth asking, aren’t they, worth working through, however limited might be our understanding. The measure of our understanding, of course, is what we consider the ideal. Ideally, what is it? For me, that’s God’s love. Ideally, can humans achieve it? With God’s help. Should they try? Again, that’s an ethical/religious question. As to advice, I’m pretty sure in most cases, we take the advice we want. But I’d hate to be the giver in this case.

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