The Strongest Of The 4 Letter Words

I’m one extremely lucky guy at the moment and I’m smart enough to recognize it. I’ve been touched in a profound way; it came unexpected, came unsought for but I’m so glad it did. I am grateful to have this wash over me and for how it resonates with me.

What am I talking about? Good question. It’s that moment someone enters your life and disturbs it; enriches it; changes you, reminds you of what is best in us. If you know what I’m talking about; if it’s happened to you too then you know of what I speak. If you don’t get it, I’d wish this on you if wishing would make it so.

Now I can’t divulge much in truth without giving away the identity of the person who has had this impact on me and maybe they’d be a little more than surprised to learn I’m writing of this. Their identity isn’t necessary for the telling, for it’s the emotion evoked itself that is essential and the impact on how I move forward.

Ever had that really memorable teacher? That person that ignited your love of learning; they exposed you to music, broadened your vocabulary and fostered a love of reading; nurtured your passion etc. I’ve had 3 of these in my life; Grade 8 and again throughout my high school years. 3 great men; one who turned on my love for words, one for music and the other my love of theatre. How indebted I am to them!

Now as an Employment Counsellor and Workshop Facilitator, I’m the one in a teaching, mentoring and instructing role. Over the years I’ve had the good fortune to work with and assist people who have had varying degrees of an impact on me; some less some great.

I have to say though, I’ve never been moved by one such person in this way. Now, I’ve heard their stories over the years; tales of heartache, despair, abuse, trials and challenges. All real and valid, all impacting on me in varying degrees. So I would have thought by now that my reaction to yet one more person with a story would come with my usual care and concern. However as I say, I’m profoundly shaken; and I love it!

Now it’s not that I love a good story and the story is the thing; hardly! No, the story is someone’s life; fact not fiction. It’s their reality; the good the bad, highs and lows; someone lives that story and pens a new page daily. I’ve found myself excited by the person not just the story; because I’ve been gifted with implicit and unreserved trust; invited in to their private space; shared things and heard words meant for my ears only and I’m so privileged and humbled with that act. It reminds me I’m in the right place; still moved; still alive and attuned. How fortunate I am to be in the right place at the right time. I love it when Life does that!

If you work with people in a helping capacity I sure hope you’ve been touched similarly to the degree of which I speak. It brings out the best in us; our humanity when we get stirred to our core. This feeling is a good thing while at the same time unsettling and disruptive. One moment we’re in control and the next we find ourselves impacted and affected; re-forged and changed for the better.

When you’re trusted by someone who has their entire life been let down, betrayed and given up on by those around them, trust is golden. It’s humbling to be welcomed in, respected and yes the word needs saying, to be loved.

Love is such an exciting and dangerous word isn’t it? Some reserve it for  partners, their children or parents. Ironic that we find it inappropriate to say we love someone we help in our professional life, yet it’s our very love for helping  such people that draws us to our lines of work. We sing in songs to make love not war, write of love in poems as being the very best in us. We put love on bumper stickers, but it’s wrong to tell a person they are loved when you know that’s the one thing in life they need to hear and experience more than anything else. Maybe they haven’t been loved – really loved – all along; maybe they feel incapable of attracting sincere love; without demands; love that can stare at them blindly.

It can be misconstrued, misinterpreted, confuse and disorient. It can be wonderful and validate. It’s the strongest of that which is the best in us. I’m so grateful for this; seeing past imperfections just as others see past my own.

We tell people to search for work they’d love, find people they’d love to work with, invest in professions they’d love to advance in but then fall short when it comes to telling others how much we love them for who they are, how they make us feel, how much we feel loved by them. I do love my job, love many of the people I work with and yes love what this individual brings out in me. Love is layered, strong and complex yet when laid bare it’s simple and vulnerable.

May it happen often to you and you be the better for it!




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