We are almost to the half way mark of May and we in the southern hemisphere are gazing down the long tunnel of winter. It means opening the door of my home and being greeted by the warmth and friendliness of a cozy fire and shelter from icy issues and cooler temperatures. Come inside, close the door, take the wraps off and unwind in the cozy of home.
Through the gum trees and across the horizon skies are red and clouds gather. It reminds me how we used to say, red skies at morning shepherds’ warning, red skies at night shepherds’ delight. The shepherd moved his flock to high ground when red skies broke the day. He lead them from harm to shelter.
As it holds the day in the palm of its hand, I wonder what life has planned for this day. Will I heed the shepherd’s warning or will I move blithely through my day oblivious to the needs of others. iCal informs me that today is a busy day with four client visits as well as the usual stream of emails, correspondence, case notes and phone calls to tend to. Each of the clients have been contacted yesterday to remind them of today’s scheduled visit yet how many are home to attend the visit remains to be seen.
Experience reminds me that twenty-four hours is a long time in some people’s lives. My clients fall into that category as they struggle with substance dependence and the cycle of craziness that lifestyle demands. I may have spoken to them just twenty-four hours ago,but I understand that some may not be able to attend today’s appointment because of the chaos. Some may have forgotten, some remembered other appointments, others may not be in the right head space and others yet will choose to use again rather than face up to their dependence issues.
It is good to remind myself that they are the expert of their lives and I am there to provide support when they are able to lift their heads from their shame, guilt and anger long enough to know that someone cares. I am also there at their invitation and in their home – their place of vulnerability – as their guest. No judgement or comparison just to heed their need. The gift of the therapeutic alliance is being comfortable in your own skin so others who are not comfortable with theirs find a place to come inside, close the door, take off the wraps and unwind in the safety of compassion.