Fifteen months ago, I started seeing a therapist.
I remember at Hutchmoot, in one of those first years, a musician/artist talked about his therapist and then said, “Everyone needs a therapist.” There was a smattering of laughter, so he said, “I really mean it. It’s one of the best things I ever did.”
Once, when someone told me they had started therapy, I asked, “What’s it like?”
“It’s like having a paid friend. One that you can say anything to,” was the response.
That’s a pretty apt description.
My therapist’s name is Rachel.
I apologize a lot to her. “I’m sorry that I blather so much,” I say.
“It’s okay,” she replies.
“I forgot where I was going with this,” I say. “I ramble too much, don’t I?”
“Tell me more,” she replies.
One day, she said, “What would you say to young Sally?”
I stopped blathering and rambling and tried to think. Later that evening, I wrote a poem — and promptly forgot about it. That’s how I am these days — scattered and forgetful.
But each morning, I get up and try again. I begin the day with reading. It’s funny how the themes circle around. The same thoughts emerge from vastly different places.
I began the year pondering a quote by Howard Thurman:
I see you where you are, striving and struggling,
and in the light of the highest possibility of personality,
I deal with you there.
This morning, I read this in J. Phillip Newell’s Christ of the Celts:
“Alexander Scott, the nineteenth century Celtic teacher, uses the analogy of a plant suffering from blight. If such a plant were shown to botanists, even if the botanists had never seen that type of plant before, they would define it in terms of its essential life features. They would identify the plant with reference to its healthy properties of height and color and scent. They would not define it in terms of its blight. Rather they would say that the blight is foreign to the plant, that it is attacking the plant.”
I am so blighted. So very blighted.
Who am I in the light of the highest possibility of my personality? Who am I in my healthiest sense of my existence?
I went back and re-read that poem I wrote.
What would I say to young Sally? I would tell her that she is seen — and that even the blights can shape us.
Here’s my poem. Sorry for my blathering. I forgot where I was going with this.
I see you.
I see the dreams you’ve set aside
Over and over
For better dreams
No — for better realities
Because who could have imagined
You would be happy spending
So many years of
And singing silly songs
Not just With Larry
But with Philipowensamhelenjacobkarlmary
(I don’t think Laurel liked to sing
Or read, for that matter)
For children’s dreams
So they might become the realities
That I missed
Once upon a time
I wanted to be a veterinarian
Because dogs and horses
Were so much safer
Then I wanted to make music
Because everyone knows
You can’t make a living making music
And linguistics –
To study languages
And understand their structures
“Anatomy of Language”
Sounds fascinating to me
But is that even a class?
Human anatomy is a much easier
Class to find
And I would have taken it
In my last dream of being
A physical therapist
But I married
And became a mom
I see that young woman
Who couldn’t stand on her own
And didn’t have someone to say,
Instead I had someone who said, “Come.”
And I went
I see you, and the dreams you’ve set aside
I see the rich reality you’ve lived
I see it all and, yes, I feel some pride —
For what is Christ but to give and give
Up dreams for something better, something good