Although some of my recent blogs here have been more about our social issues, I have tried to also keep the focus on our individual reactions to what we find ourselves immersed in daily, and trying to make sense of it at the individual, average citizen level. All most of us want is to be enabled to continue our lives as citizens of a free country with justice for each of us.
However, in the past few weeks, I’ve tried to keep the focus more on our mental health. After all that’s why I’m here.
So I apologize for going off on another little tangent. I promise to bring it back to the individual – but as with many of you, the Healthcare issue that was so important for 17 days has pulled me back to the level of trying to make sense of something that makes no sense, at least on the surface.
I’m not going to go into my thoughts politically. Most of you probably already have a good idea what they are, and again, that is not the purpose here. My intent is to bring it down to how it affects each of us. Regardless of what some of our representatives apparently believe, we all NEED healthcare, and most of us want the ability to pay for it. I sincerely hope they (our employees) eventually come around to finding a way to adult through making that work for as many of us as possible.
But while I was listening to all the ranting and raving for that 17 day period, I kept remembering one client I had seen a few years ago when I was doing some pro bono therapy at the LikeMe Lighthouse in downtown KC. I’m sharing a blog I wrote at the time only to help anyone who might not fully understand why this issue is SO important to many people you’ll never meet; and why it is incumbent upon those of us who have a little more to be there for those who can’t help themselves at the moment.
The other day a new client came in who has liver disease. He had 1 tooth, reeked of alcohol, and reported that he had no friends – that people seemed to be “intimidated” by him. He had a very negative outlook on life, and I found myself thinking – “What’s the use? How can I help someone like him? He doesn’t seem to want to help himself!”
Yet, there he was. Sitting in my office asking for help. He has no clue at this point what that might entail, but neither do most of us at the beginning stages of change. I realized I was judging him without really knowing what he had come from. So I listened and I sent him loving thoughts.
I’m not a Christian Counselor, and I never quote the Bible. But I have to admit that a verse from Matthew came to mind as I listened to him spell out his problems:
“. . . whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
As we talked, I discovered a man who had once excelled in a sport at the national level and successfully owned his own business for years. Yes, he has a lot of negative core beliefs, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have at least a few! And he’s engulfed in a system of social security and healthcare that seems to make it most difficult for those who need help the most. My experience of just trying to get a child on Medicaid several years ago was enough to drive me to drink! And I had connections that many of these people don’t.
So as I sat there I had to ask myself: Who am I to be judge and jury? I have to practice what I preach. I believe we all come from the the same spirit and are just different parts of the whole (like individual leaves on a tree). So if I disrespect him, I disrespect part of myself.
I also believe the reason we are here on earth is to be of service to others as we each learn the lessons we need in order to become closer to enlightenment. So in retrospect, it’s clear to me this man was a messenger for me – and I received the message. Even though he’s coming to me for help, he’s probably already given me more than I could ever give him.
No one has ever become poor by giving. -The Diary of Anne Frank