Jamie Blaine has worked at mental hospitals, mega churches, rehab clinics, radio stations and roller rinks. His work as a 24/7 operator on a psychotherapy crisis line has given him a window into the darkest moments in people’s lives.
“A lot of people considering suicide, a lot of extreme depression, and a lot of, ‘I can’t get off of drugs. I can’t quit drinking.'”
As a man of faith, coming face to face every day with life’s most hopeless moments came with a transforming spiritual dimension.
“The interesting part of that story – at the time I was very involved in the church. A mega church – a very big church. So I had ran all this past my preacher, and he said, ‘Yeah! You know, I think this can be a good thing for you. That you can teach those people about Jesus, and minister to the lost.'”
“So I went out and did the best that I could. Look. All I could do was show up. And, over time, I found out something that was disturbing, but ultimately hopeful.”
It was a discovery that was somehow simple and yet life changing.
“The church, a lot of times, we would talk about ‘those people’, ‘out there’. But what I learned was that ‘those people’ were us.
A lot of the people I would see on crisis calls were church members. They were people from our community. They were somebody’s brother. They were somebody who sang in the choir. They were some pastor’s kid or wife. There was no ‘us’ and ‘them’ All of those people were us. And that was a crazy revelation, but one that to me was ultimately helpful.”
Jamie Blaine is a former psychotherapist whose extraordinary experiences as 24/7 crisis line operator led him to pen his latest book, Mercy Never Sleeps: Sleepless Thoughts on Faith, Heaven, and the Fear of Heights.On the Road with Jamie Blaine