Rosehedge/Multifaith Works Blog

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Saving the World One Person at a Time

My name is Jonathan and I have lived in Seattle for just over two years.  I came here to start my graduate studies in counseling psychology, and have fallen in love with the climate, the landscape, and the culture. On top of grad school I also maintain a small Reiki practice which helps heal and care for people while paying the bills.

I found Rosehedge/Multifaith’s Shanti program when I was looking for a meaningful way to give back for all the blessings I have received in my life. As I trained to be a therapist I realized how expensive and difficult it can be for some to obtain therapy, and desired to offer a healing, therapeutic relationship to someone who had been disempowered. When I discovered that Shanti served people who are stigmatized by society and lonely I knew I had found my match.

As a young man I often felt an impetus to make a grandiose change in this broken world.  Try as I might — and I actually did try! — I couldn’t manage to find a solution for the problems of the whole world. The Shanti program taught me something invaluable: I can’t make the whole world a better place, but I can make one person’s world a better place by saying that they matter.  When asked what it is that I do at my volunteer organization, I say that I am saving the world, one person at a time.

My relationship with my Shanti partner is practically holy to me. It is such an honor to hear my Shanti partner’s life story, to sit with them in sickness and grief, and to play and celebrate the beauty of life together.  Though I have enjoyed board games my whole life, I had never experienced such satisfaction over a game of Backgammon until I started playing with my Shanti partner. The two of us have an incredible rapport, sometimes communicating just with facial expressions and shrugs. My Shanti partner doesn’t communicate feelings very often, but recently they returned from a trip and said, “Hey, I really missed  you,” when we reconnected. The truth is, I really missed them too. And if it were not for Rosehedge/Multifaith Works’ Shanti program, they would still be isolated, lonely, and not have someone like me to say, “I missed you, too” when they get home.

So, I am saving the world, one person at a time. I am sure I will start to reach more people when I work as a therapist, and I already provide healing energy work with my Reiki practice, but nothing will compare with the kind of relationship I have with my Shanti partner. The relationship has made me thankful for every person in my life who has walked with me, through hard times and good. The relationship has made me a humbler man, thankful to receive the stories of someone very different than me. Ultimately, I have grown as I have learned to bless them in their journey.

Jonathan M
Shanti Volunteer


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