At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
– Albert Schweitzer
I am often asked this about my work as a mental health counselor; “How can you sit and listen to other people’s problems all day?“. My response is often wrapped in genuine thankfulness for the work that I am so privileged to be able to do. You see, I can not count the number of times that I have received just as much from my clients as they receive from me; how often my own candle glows brighter in the process of helping a client rekindle their spark.
While I am listening to their problems, I am also connecting to them as a person… learning their story; getting to know their strengths and weaknesses, sharing in their deepest sorrows or regrets, supporting them through grief or loss or change. I see and experience their true and genuine, raw emotion and sit with them as a witness to it all. I so often see the strength of the human spirit, the resiliency of the open heart and the growth of the unstuck mind. I see clients move forward, make progress, learn, change, heal and grow. I am always grateful that I was trusted enough to be a small part of my client’s life journey.
I am truly honored to be able to enter into a sacred space with clients in such a deep and genuine way. I am thankful for their trust. I am thankful for their vulnerability. I am thankful for their honesty. I am thankful for their courage and risk taking. I am thankful for their willingness to enter into such a life-affirming relationship; a relationship between counselor and client that takes the time to examine not only behavior and thoughts, feelings and experiences, but ultimately explores and shares the real “soul of the self”.
Vulnerable heart to heart connections, depths of emotion shared, growth and change…these I think are some of the most important components to a purposeful, meaningful and intentional life. This is the “stuff” that makes all our lights shine a bit brighter. And I am lucky enough to be surrounded with these components daily because clients are courageous enough to seek support.
So though the official client/counselor relationship ends after the final session, I always hope that our time together will enrich and improve the lives of my clients for many years to come. And I know, with certainty, that my time spent with clients is carried with me in my heart going forward every day. My experiences with them, my thoughts, feelings and indeed the very fabric of my life is altered profoundly and irrevocably because of each and every client that finds their way into my office. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
And so during this season and each day throughout the year know that I am so grateful for you, my clients; each and every one of you over the past 19 years. Thank you for allowing me to follow a life path that is filled with passion and purpose, meaning and hope, joy and connection!
Wishing you all a most abundant Thanksgiving, complete with a long list of things for which to be truly thankful!