First off, I'm in the library where I am supposed to be writing a paper, but I'm taking a break to do some writing that I enjoy a little more than outlining strategic plans. At any rate, last week I finished reading The Soloist by Steve Lopez. It is a book that I have read before, but I decided to read again for a book report for my Human Behavior class. If you haven't read the book, I strongly recommend it. It is the story of a man named Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, an incredible musician who struggles with schizophrenia and homelessness. Nathaniel is befriended by Steve Lopez, a columnist for the LA Times, and through this relationship Nathaniel is able to slowly improve his situation.
As I was writing my book report, which was really just a reflection on how the book can help our work with individuals with mental illness, I kept coming back to the relationship between Steve and Nathaniel. It was because of their relationship that things actually started changing in Nathaniel's life. Steve was able to advocate and find resources for Nathaniel that he was not able to access on his own. But, the relationship also began to heal Nathaniel on its own. One of my professors always talks about how "the relationship heals" and he is exactly right. Simply the presence of another human being can be just as healing as any medication and, in my opinion, is often more powerful and lasting.
When I wrote my last post, it got me thinking about the relationships in my life. Most of my Sunday Thanks posts have had to do with the people in my life. I'm not writing each Sunday about the things that I am thankful for (although I certainly have material goods that I am grateful for), and the fact is that it would take me a lot longer to think of a thing to write about than it would be a person or an experience that I share with others.
I've had to live pretty simply this year, as I am not really making much money each week, and the money that I have saved is for living expenses for the next year and a half. But, I've had a lot of great moments with people that I love and care about, and without the "stuff" around me to cloud it up, I have seen more clearly this year the importance of the relationships in my life that sustain me.
The people in my life "heal" me every day. The classmate sitting next to me reassures me that I'm doing a good job. My mom comforts me when I feel stressed. My boyfriend finds me when I'm lost in a sea of overwhelming thoughts and ideas. My professor encourages me when I feel like I will never understand the material. My siblings make me laugh on a long weekend after a week of hard work that made me want to cry. I am healed and I am whole because of the relationships that fill me up.