I visited my elderly client today. He is super shy at 85. Every time I get to the facility I find him alone in his room with the door close. I took him out for a ride which was delightful even with all the rain. We stopped at McDonalds and he had a strawberry shake. He said he hadn’t drank one in decades. He talked about drive-in movies and shakes and other super sweet memories.
In one of our many conversations, as he struggles with memory lapses, I asked him if he was always this shy? He said he was. Then he looked at me and asked if I was always this courageous. I laughed.
“Courageous? At what?”
“At speaking out. At going up to people and talking to strangers? I bet you have always been this way.”
I admitted that as a child I was super shy. In my teens I would talk to everyone but something happened after I had my two sons in my twenties. My light went out. I allowed my partner and those around me to dictate my worth.
I told him it isn’t about courage. It’s about living fully. It’s about connections. It’s about overcoming worth issues and showing up in the presence of another.
Something touched him. His eyes watered and I stopped talking and hugged him.
Then I grabbed him by the arm and took him to another man’s room who is a sweetheart. This man is just beyond yummy. They eat meals together but both are shy and won’t “hang out.” I left them in Walt’s room. Whether he left right after or not is not important. He stayed long enough. And that to him is courageous.
Darlings…Be vulnerable. Be brave. Be whatever label you place on yourself but get out there and join another. We are here for that!