After returning from the holidays, Doc was going through her mail and was surprised to find a hand-written envelope addressed to her with no return address. Curious, she opened the envelope and was touched to find a letter that started, ” I bet you’ll never guess who this is.” The letter went on to say that the writer had stopped by to say hi, described what she had been doing in her life and ended the letter; ” I think of you often, Happy Holidays!” It was signed at the bottom by a patient Doc said she hadn’t seen in more than 12 years. As I looked at Doc I could see by the softening in her face and the glistening of her eyes how touched she was by this gesture.
Curious, I asked Doc why someone would take the time to visit and write a note to a therapist they had not seen in over 12 years. All Doc said was ” It’s about the relationship Grover.” Doc must have noticed the puzzled look upon my face because she then went on to explain. “There is nothing more important in the world than the connections we establish with each other. For this particular patient, she granted me the privilege of walking beside her through her journey of recovery that included some very painful struggles. When someone pays you the honor of trusting you enough to be vulnerable until they can heal, a bond is formed, but I am humbled that she took the time to remember me after all these years.”
After mulling this over for awhile I asked Doc; ” Is this true for all encounters?” ” Yes, she said, no matter how big or small, whether it is a co-worker or the way you relate to a store clerk, they are all important. Strong work relationships improve morale and work production and healthy bonds with family and friends improve health. Just think how good you feel, when someone stops to pat you on the head and tells you you’re a good dog.”
Then Doc paused for a moment as if deep in thought before she said, ” You know Grover, when I was young I didn’t get the big picture, I was more worried about my own needs. And although it may sound cliché, there are some things in life that only time and experience can teach you. The one thing I now know without any doubt is; that if you want to build bridges in this world you need to know how to form and honor relationships.”
In the stillness of the moment, Doc looked down in her hand where she was holding the letter and carefully placed it back in the envelope. She then rested her hand on my back, leaned down and kissed me on the head and said,” But of course, our bond is the best of all.”