I know that I am supposed to try to rely on letters less, I do. I swear I heard you. I mostly hear you, it just takes time for the messages to sink in.
This is different though. This is a letter of gratitude.
Gratitude for the fact that you will (and do) repeat yourself, regardless of how many times you’ve said it before.
Gratitude for the relationship we have built, the space that we have created and the light you hold as we explore all the dark and windy and twisted passages that make up my deepest secrets, darkest tunnels, and biggest fears.
It’s gratitude for the patience you exhibit when I’m sure sometimes all you want to do is speak.
It’s gratitude for the challenges you issue me when you know I know better or you want me to look at things differently or try something new.
It’s gratitude for the fact that even though you’ll ask twice, and encourage me to challenge my own assumptions, you respect the word no.
It’s gratitude for the strength you have to let me experience whatever it is I’m experiencing, without intervention or interruption.
It’s gratitude for the space you hold for me when you’re tired, or dealing with your own shit, or having a day, or you’re cranky or sick, and it’s extra gratitude for when it’s those days AND I’m being a shit. You have never not showed up for me. Not once have you not showed up.
It’s gratitude for those corrective experiences.
It’s gratitude for the fact that I don’t believe you will purposely suddenly abandon me anymore. You’ve crossed the line to ‘people I’m afraid will die’, no longer in the category of ‘people I’m afraid will leave.’
It’s gratitude for all the parts of your own experience you’ve shared with me. It’s gratitude for those moments when I am vulnerable and you are vulnerable in return.
It’s gratitude for the fact that at some point you decided to switch careers and help people do the work you have been doing and continue to do for yourself. Even if I’m the only person you have helped (and I highly doubt that), that decision had a ripple effect. Never underestimate the importance of that choice.
It’s gratitude for you weathering my indecision and threats to quit, or actual quitting. My silence, my anger, my emotions.
It’s gratitude for the fact you try to get me to name my experiences first, but that you’ll take the lead and say the hard things sometimes so I don’t have to.
It’s gratitude for not just listening and watching, but hearing and seeing me.
It’s gratitude for the compassion you model – offering it not only to me, but to yourself, and to my family as well.
It’s gratitude that I have trouble expressing, and it’s gratitude for the fact that immediately after I’m done reading this I’ll dodge every conversation about us, and you’ll still be there to patiently redirect.
It’s gratitude for the fact that in this room, my emotions come first but they also don’t trump yours. That you don’t let the importance of a back and forth, cooperative discussion be dismissed. That I am not unaware of how I impact you.
Gratitude that you model it’s okay to cry, and it’s normal to feel the whole range of emotions as a human being.
It’s gratitude for the fact that you bring all of yourself to be with me in this room every single time we meet, and that’s such a gift.
It’s gratitude that you expect nothing in return.
And it’s gratitude that when I called that day, I found someone who can walk all the lines that need walking as a therapist, but still admit to her mistakes and model that above all, we’re all human.
And it’s gratitude for the fact that you’re also teaching me life can be beautiful, and it’s in these raw and open moments of connection that magic can happen.
It’s gratitude for voluntarily weathering the storm with me, over and over.
This letter is about my gratitude for you.
Thank you. For everything.