Moving Forward – working to heal the divide

pain at heal the divideThe results of this past weeks election have put a new exclamation mark on the sense of divide that has been growing in our country over the past few years. I keep asking myself: What should I have done? How should I move forward? How do we heal the divide?

It’s tempting to get into discussions about politics, however I’m not a political analyst.  I’m not here to say which candidate was right or wrong. It’s also tempting to discuss the merits or lack of virtue of people on both sides. I’m not a sociologist or philosopher and I refuse to get pulled into arguments about which side is more ignorant and bigoted. I refuse to see the worst in people.

What I am, professionally, is a counselor and a therapist. Through that lens I have heard one message repeated over and over again in both sides throughout the course of this election; a message of suffering, frustration and invalidation.  I’ve said privately a number of times over the past year that it truly is sad to me to see the rift that has divided people, and realize that deep down what has driven both sides is not that different. If only we had taken the time to listen better.

So that’s my main goal for the next four years: I will attempt to listen better. I say attempt, because I realize my own experiences and biases are going to color that attempt, just like it will for all humans. But in my clinical work especially I am going to take the time to receive better training, examine my own biases, and become a more competent therapist to the folks who walk in my door.

I also realize that I can’t stop there. Since becoming a counselor I have lived in a very micro world, focusing on the needs of my clients, and stepping out only when I needed to advocate for them. That experience has changed me, and my role is changing. So I have two other goals for the next four years: First I will work to structure my business in such a way that people have better access to my services. Second, I will work harder to be aware of legislation that affects the mental health of my community and clients and take more active part in interacting with our leaders in those instances.

bridging to heal the divideI say these things publicly not to toot my own horn, but to let those who are hurting know that there are people out there who are listening, and who are trying to do our part.

I also put this out there as a challenge: With the gifts God has given me, and the calling God has put into my life this is how I can move forward and attempt to heal the divide. What gifts has God given you? What has God called you to be? How can you use that to heal that divide with your neighbor? in your community? and our nation?

Just my $.02