On the way back home from that sunrise, I stopped at Kroger…to get some donuts for my wife and grandson as a special treat. Walking through the aisles there are definitely whispers of “good morning”… some directed to me…others an offering from me to others…strangers.
I am reminded of the beauty of our human connectedness. It is like the air we breathe, but into the soul. In the past, pre-therapy, it was just too easy to sit at home and fuel popular sentiments like “I just don’t like people”. For many years of walking through anxiety and sadness, I suppose I didn’t. Or, at least, the interaction was too much to process and therefore avoided. And besides that, our culture has a bit of a negative slant to it, so loving your dog more than you love your neighbor kind of puts you in the cool club of sorts. But membership there is ultimately a sad one.
But the reality is that I do. I do like people. I am encouraged by a smiling face and a sincere greeting, but I also am re-energized in the giving, the offering to another human soul that says simply “I see you…” The voice back says merely “morning”, but the eyes and half-smile tell a complicated story that says “you have no idea how much I needed that.” And thus, I have contributed humbly to the complexity of what binds us all together.
I have come to where I am through a journey of therapy. From a sad, dark soul to a place of hope and gratitude. It’s been twenty-seven hard weeks — this is not an easy journey. And the hardest step is perhaps that very first one — to see my own need and to somehow allow someone in to be my guide, to trust them in a place that no one else has been allowed.
Sometimes it feels like I am a new me — but therapy really is an uncovering of what is already there. A peeling back of what’s piled on from a childhood of teachings and trauma to an adulthood of conflicting realities. The masks and filters we develop to manage this become so thick and normalized we forget they are even on, not to mention what lies underneath.
What lies underneath is the real me… so what I am starting to see and feel and somehow appreciate isn’t a new me — it’s just me. My therapist tries to convince me even that “I love me”…I’m still working on that one. What she has convinced me of is that I am worthy of love and that I matter. When I walked alone twenty-seven weeks ago, she was the one to look me in the eyes and say “I see you”.
I have missed a thousand sunrises…stuck behind a mask and feeling unworthy of its brilliance. But this one I saw, and I see it as a gift — a gift I will pay forward.
May we rise each morning and seek the breath of connectedness and to a fellow beautiful soul do our best to say “I see you”.