On Monday, I got a last minute call to drive a young male client to his new boarding house. He really impressed me. He was wise and well spoken and quietly told me bits and pieces of his story, how he had spent three days homeless and hated it and can’t imagine how others do it year round by choice. He told me he had never believed he would ever end up in this situation and that three months ago he had had a great contract job that he was hoping would end up permanent. It did not. He told me about his education, his degree and his young daughter who was living with his mother right now.
He mentioned that he always seemed to have to do things the hard way and had made so many “mistakes”. He talked about the years he spent in foster care and how hard it was. He made no excuses for himself.
I asked him questions and he laid out his hopes and dreams for his life. He wants to help others. I listened to his spill of emotions and words, knowing he just needed someone to listen. Someone to hear him. I wonder if he had anyone to really talk to lately, or ever.
I could see so much potential in this young man.
At the end of the trip before he got out, I said to him, “I was in the foster care system myself for four years. I understand what you went through.” I told him there are no mistakes, instead just call them learning experiences. The words flowed out of me…….”Everything you went through brought you this fountain of experience and wisdom. You had to go through all that to get to here. It made you who you are. Now you can use that to help someone else.”
I could see this get through to him, past his sadness about how things have turned out. His eyes looked at me with such gratefulness and hope, and he agreed that yes, that is what he wanted to do. And he smiled as he got out.
This is what makes me feel good about my job and my own life. These moments when I can positively affect another person, touch them inside, encourage them, and basically, just love them into loving themselves. It gives me such a wonderful energising boost that stays with me and keeps me going. Those are the moments I look back on and say, yes, this is why I’m here.