I made a difference to THAT one..
Each day that we interact with the people we know and don’t know, have you ever stopped to think about what emotional pain this person may be carrying? Probably not, we put up barriers to protect ourselves against other people painful stories, as do the people around us, but its there. Buried deep within, sometimes pushing out and affecting their lives, emotions and behaviour.
Trauma does that to you. Trauma has the tendency, if not treated or acknowledged, to show itself to the world as a symptom or group of emotional, mental and physiological symptoms if left unattended.
However, traumatic stress within can be released when the journey of narrating the story is facilitated by a person skilled in trauma.
That’s where we come in…not necessarily as a therapist or professional counsellor but as a trauma support volunteer providing guidance, education, trauma related information and perhaps referring to a professional. This role, as someone who comes alongside a victim of trauma and provides effective psycho-social support is valuable, and it makes a difference. A huge difference.
I love the story of the starfish thrower. Actually, I love the message even more…. “ I made a difference to THAT ONE”!
Read it with me….
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,
“Well, I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved. – (adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley)
There are so many times, you as a volunteer or counsellor may want to give up because you feel that you’re just not making headway, but take a moment to think about this:
- If you weren’t there to help, who else would?
- You made a difference to THAT one…
- You re-instilled the belief that humanity is good.
- You made contact
- YOU VALIDATED THEIR EXPERIENCE BY BELIEVING!
Think about that, and continue to make a difference in the lives of people you come into contact with in your role as a trauma support volunteer, counsellor or Chaplain.