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A Gift

June 4, 2015


In “The Small, Happy Life”, David Brooks shares a story of a man who’s most prized possession is a banged up pot, that he lovingly kept wrapped in a cloth.  When questioned as to why this pot was so special to the man, he explained that it reminded him that we do not all have to shine.

Brooks continues in his article to express his thoughts about gratitude .  When Vista Hill SmartCare recently was recognized as San Diego County Director’s Program of the Year, I do admit that we all enjoyed the opportunity to “shine” for our few moments of recognition.  But as I sat down to write our acceptance speech, what was most important for us, was to give thanks: thanks for being given the opportunity to create and implement a program that would bring preventative mental health and wellness services to rural communities in such creative ways, thanks to the rural clinics that readily accepted our integration, thanks to our collaborative partners in each of these communities, thanks to our teams of providers that are so welcoming and flexible, and most of all, thanks to the patients and community members who briefly allow us into their lives and are motivated to make changes toward wellness.

Our services are designed to be brief.  And so our hope is that we provide the patients with some useful tools and healthful choices that they will incorporate into their lives as they move forward.   Occasionally we hear back after a time, that they are doing better, or that they did indeed maintain some changes that have been helpful.  But more often than not, patients move on, and we move on to assist others, not knowing for sure what the outcomes might be.

After delivering our brief thank you speech at the Behavioral Health Recognition Dinner the other night, we sat back down at our table to listen to the other wonderful awards and speeches.  I felt someone take the vacant seat beside me.  I glanced over, and a young woman gave me a big, friendly smile.  She asked me if I had worked at the County children’s inpatient hospital 20+ years prior.  Indeed I had, it had been my first position when I moved to San Diego almost 30 years ago.  She told me her name, and I immediately recognized the young girl she had been, in her current smiling face.  She told me she had recognized my voice when I had been giving my brief speech earlier, and wanted to come over to thank me for helping her, so many years ago.

I expressed my gratitude for her taking the time to seek me out, and to let me know she is doing just fine.  This was my moment to shine.

Pamela Sachs, LCSW

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