Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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Reinforcements

Double_Rainbow_-_US Fish and Wildlife service

Sometimes I get really tired.

I’ve been a substance abuse counselor for about thirty years now. I’m not so much tired of helping people fight addiction, as I am the bureaucracy and the paperwork layered deeper and deeper every time I catch my breath, even if it is more electronic than paper…..

There are people who I have felt privileged to work with. It has been an honor to witness growth and small victories that sometimes turn into large victories. But there are those who don’t make it, those who don’t get that you need more to grab hold of than a slender thread, to save you from being sucked down into the cunning, baffling, and powerful jaws of misery.

Sometimes I wonder how much longer I can keep doing this.

And then today I got a phone call from someone who thanked me for being her counselor. And today, another client gave me a small but meaningful gift of appreciation. And today my group paid attention, and learned new skills, and supported each other.

And today, leaving work, for the first time in my life, I saw a double rainbow.

Is it possible that was for me? Would it be narcissistic to think that?

Several years ago, I was a single parent going through an awful situation with my teenage daughter. I didn’t want to go to work, but I had to. When I got there, a vivid rainbow arched over the building where I work. I knew it was a sign that things would be okay.

I’m happy to share the rainbows with anyone who needed them today. One thing I’m sure of is that we are not alone.

I believe I can keep doing this a while longer, with gratitude.

 

(I left my phone at home and wasn’t able to capture the double rainbow, so I used one from Wikimedia taken by someone at the US Fish and Wildlife Service.)


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Making a Difference In spite of the system

starfish-2

I’m not really surprised that the new Health Care plan website is not user friendly.  I’ve spent many years working in a health care field at the mercy of a growing bureaucracy. It doesn’t matter what political party is in charge. Those at the top with big ideas don’t have much understanding of how things work on the front lines. Trying to help people in spite of the “red tape” is often challenging.

Some of my substance abuse clients were not showing up for their appointments one rainy afternoon, so I got to wade through the abundant “paperwork” that only moves toward getting caught up when I have no shows. When the front desk person told me someone was there to see me without an appointment, I didn’t ask who it was. I was willing to talk to anybody.

It turned out to be a former client who I had not seen in years. He said he just came by to tell me he was moving to a different state. He told me he wanted me to know that I had helped him, that I had given him hope and had helped him see things as not quite as depressing as he thought they were. He was not a “success story” by the usual standards, but the fact that he was still walking around on this earth (and  even able to give thanks) was a miracle.  Since this person was not currently enrolled in the program, he could not be counted under my productivity for direct services for that day. But he still counted. I had made a difference in his life.

My vistor reminded me of the starfish story of the boy/girl or whoever throwing starfish back into the ocean. A passerby pointed out that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the shore and that no one could possibly hope to make a difference. The hopeful soul tossed another starfish gently back into the ocean and said, “I made a difference for that one.”

There are so many ways we can make a difference. Big ways and little ways. We plant seeds with the hope that they will grow. And some do. Sometimes slowly and sometimes without our knowledge. Sometimes it seems like people aren’t listening to us, like we’re not getting through. If you parented or worked with teenagers, you know what I’m talking about. But we can continue to be an example of hope. Don’t stop believing. Keep giving those encouraging words, even when it seems like they aren’t being heard. Keep planting seeds of hope. And thank people who have made a difference in your life. Your gratitude will make a difference.