Leaning Into Me

1979

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
Reading
Aloud

And singing silly songs
Not just With Larry
But with Philipowensamhelenjacobkarlmary
(I don’t think Laurel liked to sing
Or read, for that matter)

Of listening
And probing
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
Than people

Then I wanted to make music
-al instruments
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

Yes, 
I see that young woman
Who couldn’t stand on her own
And didn’t have someone to say,
Follow
Pursue
Be

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

3 Comments on “Leaning Into Me

  1. Sally,  Not sure why, but your poem made me cry. Not in a bad way.  Miss you! I am hoping Karl and I could take a road trip sometime and see you and Bud.  I continue with caregiving up north— My aunt, nearly 94, lives in the family homestead in Mystic, CT. I don’t need to be there every day, and so I stay with Peter, our artist, 30 minutes away in RI. (I work as his office manager/assistant.) Karl comes up when he can and I go home for a week or so whenever I can. We had the whole family together for the first time since the pandemic two weekends ago – We made it a surprise. Joy! Love,Nancy 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

  2. Your poem is so good! We are using “Dream Big” by Bob Goff for our Tuesday night Young Adult group and I kept thinking about his talk about small, medium, and big dreams and somehow reading your poem worked right into those thoughts! I always apologize for rambling on but I love your term “blathering”!!

  3. Well said. I see a therapist, though the only chance to do so since covid has been a zoom session, which felt off to me.

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