March 20, 2009
Lately, I've been reflecting on what I've experienced the past few months. I've encountered families, clients, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers and many others. In these people, I see the people that I've encountered in my travels through the system. I've also seen myself.
Today, I had an interesting experience. I was sitting across from this one person, talking, when I realized that I had been in that chair. I had sat across from someone, not really hearing what they were saying, resisting what they were saying, and not getting anything from it. I stopped. I asked myself what I wanted back then. How would I have wanted the person in the seat I now occupy to act? What were the words I had wanted? I thought and thought, still listening, and then realized it didn't matter.
It wasn't me over there across from me. While I had been in that place, this person was unique. They were themselves. What they need, while I might not know, it is my work to find out. To do my best. To be a someone in their life that maybe isn't just a cog in the machine, but can be viewed as someone that was there. That was just the presence that was needed.
There is one thing I do remember from way back then, and I can even admit that it's true now: just being there is sometimes enough.