Planting Seeds Without Seeing Results: The Strength to Persevere

Her shoulders curled in so tightly her chest looked like a small, shallow bowl. Her blond hair hung in stringy pieces over her face, covering her dulled blue eyes. She had crisscrossed the country following bands, joining ashrams, working odd jobs, running from the police, starting businesses, falling in love and having a baby. She was in my office because someone in town told her to find me. We began with how to call her folks; they didn’t know if she was alive or dead. She built up her courage and, upon calling, broke down as the three of them sobbed across the miles.

Over the next few months we worked on repairing their relationship and creating stability for Heart (as she called herself). Jane (as her parents called her) had large amounts of anger towards her parents. Although they provided for her physically they were never there for her emotionally. Heart’s parents had equal amounts of anger as they supported her through a number of therapists, schools, programs, and business ventures. Often when a young adult has such a challenging history I look for one of two possibilities: childhood trauma/abuse or potential mental health diagnosis. Heart’s family had a history of mental illness, and she had tried a variety of medications as a child.

Over time Heart improved her relationship with her parents, met a wise psychiatrist, and settled on a good combination of medications. She had a home, healthy roommates and a job. Then an ex-boyfriend came to town and started saying she’d “sold out.” All of her hard work began to crumble and, in the middle of the night, she left town with him. She returned to her nomadic lifestyle, calling her parents every once in awhile when she needed money and stopping by my office to say hi when she came through town.

Her parents were heartbroken and asked me how I could continue to work with people like Heart. I believe sometimes in this lifetime we plant seeds that we don’t see come to fruition, but that does not diminish the importance of our role. What seeds need to be planted around you?