twelve years ago today, a friend called me to let me know they had entered a day program for mental health treatment. during that phone call and for months afterward I could only listen; we lived too far apart to visit in person. my friend’s family and friends who lived closer gave their support in a variety of ways, as my friend and I would for one another in the years following, but on that day I was a listener.
listening requires patience and openness to actively engage our ears and our hearts. we may not always know what to say, but by making an effort to listen and be present we can learn how to help those who choose to be vulnerable with us. they may not know quite how to express themselves either, choosing to be vulnerable isn’t easy, and a painting, a poem or an email might come before conversation.
at markets - the vendor selling the hummus and pita
on the bus, the train - the man holding the railing two feet away
in movies, television, literature, music…
glimpses into lives of people with outward scars
are almost common
darkness can manifest in many ways,
illumination is not always easy -
inward scars are prevalent as well
/ but /
sharing little joys, inviting the circle of creativity to expand,
is a small step towards healing,
not alone - but joining with those courageously stepping out -
sharing their experiences with anxiety.
how they survived sexual assault.
how they overcame a life of drug use.
how they began to rely on alternatives to self-harm.
how each day they choose life over suicide.
- building bridges instead of walls -
can create momentum.
who begin to invite joy
into their journey of life
little by little
is so much more
than a story