Symbiosis

We had the pleasure of touring and old Basque/French/English bastion here in Placentia Newfoundland. We also had the pleasure of knowing our guide whose services seemed above and beyond. On a rugged path through the forest between forts he pointed out the moss which grew on some of the trees. He mentioned symbiosis and how we depend on each other. Without the tree to cling to the moss would not exist.

As alone as we sometimes feel, we do depend on others for our existence. The tree does not think about or even notice its relationship with the moss. As humans we have the ability to foster and encourage growth in those around us. Even as we are connected we sometimes don’t have the perspective to see how what we do and say impacts and carries forward in the lives of others. I would probably only be known as the idiot who rides his bike all winter were it not for certain individuals. On one of my rides a vignette formed in my mind. When I returned to the hospital I immediately put it to paper. Soon after I shared it with the hospital chaplain. He saw merit in it and approached me later for my permission to have it shared by another therapist who was convening a group therapy session. The only thing about me that had been shared in years was negative. Had the chaplain simply said “well done” or “I like it” I would have soon forgotten about it. Instead I began to write. I began to tell my story and illustrate some of my experience with words. I ended up with a book. My stories were a form of entertainment for myself and another patient and I had no intention of sharing beyond family.

In walks another individual. After I was living on my own in the community my best friend during my forensic journey passed away. I used a portion of my book in a eulogy I delivered which this individual was present for. He pressed me several times to share more with him. I had no intention of sharing it with him but eventually I emailed my book. He thought it was worth sharing and organized my first speaking engagement.

Anyone can write a book and we can all speak in front of a small group but for my withered soul these were David and Goliath moments. For someone who was just as apt to be naked and writing on walls it was an “about face.” I’m not sure “about face” is the correct figure of speech but my gaze was turned upward.

These two individuals saw in me and my efforts something worthy of sharing and through their small acts and words my life has changed. Like the moss, I was allowed to grow at their sides. I might not have survived let alone thrived without them. When we see and cultivate worth in another they have a harder time denying it in themselves.

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