Two weeks ago I entered the lobby of my small office building to see this plant almost dead. It had not been watered for several weeks based on the hard, dry soil, the 12 leaves that were brown and dead, and the remaining leaves that were drooping and on the verge of dying. I grabbed my coffee cup from my office and made trip after trip from the drinking fountain to the plant to thoroughly water this poor guy. I am so pleased to see how this plant has bounced back and I’ve now become this plant’s self-appointed care-taker.
Humans are like plants when we’re neglected; we begin to shrivel up and die while waiting for someone to come along and nurture us. Like this plant, nurturing doesn’t have to be a big undertaking. I think we often don’t get involved because we don’t have time, or money, or because we fear that if we reach out once, we’ll be committed for the long term. Yes for some, nurturing is a long-term commitment, but often it can be someone saying hello, extending a kind word and asking how we are, a hug when we’re down, or a meal when we’re hungry. It can be joining hands in prayer with someone in pain and then holding that hand a little longer. When I was in my masters program, I watched a video on suicide and how to prevent it. I was amazed at how often the person with suicidal thoughts said he or she just wanted someone to care. One young man was contemplating jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge and he stopped when a stranger came up to him and said, “Can I help you?” and had concern in her eyes. Those simple words, and that look of caring that said I see you hurting, were all it took for this man to change his mind and to seek help.
As a counselor, it is my job, and ver honestly my privilege, to be that person who cares for my clients. Oftentimes in a session I’m not doing some “fancy” therapeutic technique that’s promoted in the textbooks. I’m just listening to the client and really hearing what he or she is telling me. I’m holding my client’s pain with her, and sometimes for her, and giving her a safe place to show that pain. I guess you could say I’m that nurturing cup of water. But it shouldn’t just be me. I think we all have to be that person for someone else.
Our country is going through a very difficult time and there’s a lot of hurting people, and a lot of people who could use a bit of nurturing in their lives. My challenge is for each of us to be that person for someone else, be it a friend, a family member, or a stranger. It begins with us.
Jane McGill, Counselor and nurturer for humans and plants. 720-707-9119