Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Servant's Heart

A Servant's Heart

This week brought me to my knees at times... mostly with gratitude though.

I have the opportunity to see people at the clinic who otherwise might not receive therapy. I am honored and humbled to be a brief part of their lives.

This week one of them asked "How can you do this job? How can you sit in a room and listen to people whine? How can you deal with all the depressing shit they bring? Why would you even want to?"

Another person asked how, as an introvert, did I deal with the constant contact of humans who are broken?

First of all, we are all broken and in various stages of healing. Secondly I am learning the balance between helping others and helping myself.

As for the first question, how do I do this job? I feel it was something I was called to do. I look back on my life and see how the journey of 56 years has prepared me for pretty much anything I hear from other people.

While I have not had their exact experience I have had my life experiences that have taught me lessons that brought me wisdom. While some of those lessons were soul shattering and heart breaking, they made me not only stronger but more understanding and compassionate.

I truly believe that we connect through pain, that our most vulnerable point is the thin place where we can touch each other's souls.

As for the gratitude...
The day I got this job, I cried all day out of gratitude. For many reasons I was hoping to be hired at the clinic. I love the world of medicine, it was close to home, the salary and benefits would finally offer me some security and I could let go of anxiety... but mostly I was going to be a therapist again.

When I look in someone's eyes and see a bit of relief and know that I was helpful, I am so grateful for the opportunity that God has put in my life. I am stunned at how often people turn and hug me. I am still amazed that they come back and work on their issues. I am amazed at their resilience, their hope, their courage, their trust...
They inspire me. They give me hope. They teach me. They touch my heart. They have honored me with a sacred trust to let me know them, really know them, at their best and worst. I am so grateful to be able to serve.

I remember a sermon from long ago about "the servant's heart" and I pray every day that I go out to have that heart, to be a channel for love and healing. It's not about me. It's about God working through me. It's about being allowed to be a conduit for healing.

I find I pray more. I pray to be open, to be humble, to help God bring healing to these broken people, these children of God. I am so incredibly blessed that each day, I look into the eyes of Christ, the suffering broken Christ. I am so grateful for this holy time, this holy job, this holy time.

I am so grateful to serve...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Friday 8 am: Standing appointment

You lift your sleeve and show me
the scars
where the razor
bit and bit and bit
to take away the torment.
You hold out your wrist
the raised white line
like a remnant
of despair.

You look at me
with eyes that have seen
too much too soon.
In the past
tears shimmered on your lashes
spilling down your cheeks
but today,
today you smiled
you laughed
you spoke words of hope
heroic words

Today you win
against the dragon
today you win
against the world
against pain
tragedy and trauma
today you win.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


Today I think I may have reached a place I have been struggling to get to for several years...

I met with someone who owed me a debt, which I had actually forgiven/forgotten about. I didn't expect to see the money and had let go of that. What I hadn't let go of was anger.

I had been holding onto anger for other things that had happened actually. Things that hurt me and I hadn't talked about with this person. Today gave me that opportunity.

Now this is someone I once loved very much. Someone who is no longer in my life. We are on much different paths now and don't ever see or speak to one another; partly by chance, partly by choice.

A week ago this person contacted me and told me that they had something to give me. I figured it was probably some photographs or something of mine they had found.

But, no. They repaid a debt. And we chatted a bit, catching up on where life had taken us in the past year. They said they didn't want the money to be an issue.

That was when I decided to discuss the "issue". I was calm, I tried to honest yet gentle. I tried to use "I" statements and not blame. I am not sure if I did that as well as I had hoped but I tried to say what I needed to say.

I explained I had been holding onto anger. That I was wanting to forgive but I had been hurt by their actions and had not  told them I was hurting and angry.

Today I did that.

And I let it go. I let go of the anger. I saw my words register, I saw pain in their eyes. I didn't want to inflict pain, since I know how it feels, I just wanted to say my piece. To gain peace.

And then we said goodbye. I think maybe this was the final goodbye. I don't know that we will be friends again. I don't think our paths will often cross, but when they do, I hope to look with eyes that hold no anger or judgement.

I am grateful for the repayment of the debt. I admire the person for doing that, for being accountable and being true to their word. It showed me they have grown and changed for the better. And for that I am happy for them. I wish them the best. I wish them all the happiness they never found before. I wish them only good things.

I really think I let go of the anger, of the past, of all the hurt and pain we caused one another. I hope they can forgive me of that past as well...

My heart feels odd today: lighter, a bit sad, a bit hopeful... maybe this is what forgiveness feels like.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Wow... just wow.

What a week! I had an epiphany that it is so rewarding to be a therapist to people who want to do the work and are not court ordered or sent by DCBS or are forced to be there for any reason...
I know that sounds simplistic but it was an eye opening realization for me.

This week on a single day I worked with someone with Huntington's Disease, a person from an Arabic culture, another from an Asian culture, someone dealing with lupus and someone who was struggling with their sexuality.

In one week I see transgendered people, Muslims, Arabs, Christians, Buddhists, black, white, gay, straight, young, old...

I have written letters for emotional support dogs, housing, legal issues; made food referrals, talked with doctors about how to help the patients lose weight, stop smoking, drinking, drugging.

I pass out tissues and cold water. I get hugged. I get to witness the best and worst of the human condition.

I am amazed at how quickly people divulge their life story; the good, the bad, the ugly.
I am amazed at their strength and resiliency; their courage, their hope, their trust and authenticity.

Every day I leave astounded at my good fortune. Amazed that I have found my life's calling and my dream job. After 3 months I have found my footing and I love it. I feel like Owen Meany in that everything in my life has prepared me for this moment...

I am so very grateful, blessed and deliriously happy. Life doesn't get any better than when God's plan falls into place after years of doubt and fear.