Today I closed the door on a huge part of the past three years of my life and I now find myself starting a new journey. As of this evening, I am no longer employed with CHI St. Vincent.
Some of you know me because of the work I’ve been doing, some of you may be aware, some of you may not know me at all. Over the past few years, I’ve found myself doing my best to explain what I do to others and getting puzzled looks. I think the best way to say it was what wasn’t I doing?
My heart has been in suicide prevention for as long as I can remember. It started as something quite personal and grew beyond me. I felt something deeply that I didn’t necessarily understand and I began a journey to learn more. That journey allowed me to witness opportunities to help and through relationships, support, and people believing in me, I was able to build on those opportunities.
If you get to know me, I’ll tell you honestly that a great deal of my effort was based in selfishness because I gained so much from it. I loved what I was doing and it drove me to be a better person in so many ways. I never once dreaded a Monday of work. Not that I didn’t hesitate at the thought of early mornings or late nights, it’s just that I gained something immeasurable on an almost daily basis.
Don’t get me wrong, some days were definitely hard work. Work to find the energy to push forward. Work to figure out ways to address seemingly impossible problems. Work to build relationships beyond the superficial. But in the end, I can honestly say that when you are passionate about something, it will never be work.
It would be easy to sit here and find this a failure. It would be so simple to see these past several years coming to a close and find myself bitter and resentful or fearful of the future, but I simply can’t. Not because I am an optimist, because I am most definitely not that. But because I have been blessed in innumerable ways. I have met many of you because of this opportunity. I have heard stories of hope and compassion. I have learned a great deal about who I am becoming and who I will never be. And I have found great joy in the work of suicide prevention.
I write this to all of you now to let you know that although my employment has changed, my heart has not. These past few months and really year, has been quite difficult. Even now, I hold a lot of uncertainty in what my future will hold. But what I can tell you is that I will continue to serve those who ask for my help. I will continue to volunteer and work to better the communities I come into contact with. This may look different over the coming months. For me this will mean finding new ways to support myself, my family, and my future. If you find opportunities that I might be a good fit for, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I am still and will continue to act as the Executive Director of Suicide Prevention Allies. It is currently and has been a non paid position, although that may change in the future.
Before I officially close this chapter of my life, I would like to ask that if you’ve met me, saw me speak, or gleaned anything from the work I’ve done over the past few years, please share it with me. I would love to be able to see the impact of the work I’ve done, it would mean so much to me to know that I did something of worth.
Thank you all for allowing me the opportunity to serve as I have. I pray that I will continue to be able to share the knowledge and skills I have with as many as possible.
A few lessons I’ve learned along the way:
*Consistency is how trust is built and maintained. What we consistently do becomes our habits.
*Take the time to build properly. Impatience may help you get things done quickly, but it won’t help you do them in the best way possible.
*Nothing, absolutely nothing can replace the bond that comes from working alongside someone toward a common goal.
*Life is terribly short. You have every right to decide who can join you on your journey. Choose your travel mates wisely or you’ll waste unnecessary time struggling with unnecessary stress.
*Oftentimes there are more sides to a story than can be counted.
*Not everyone will share your passion, and that’s more than okay. But be deadly cautious of those who are jealous of it.
*Even now in 2019, your word is your bond. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you’re unsure, just say so. People will respect that more than a broken promise.
*Be careful what you tell people and when.
*Timing is everything.
*Base your judgement of a person on your personal knowledge of them and not what others say. Everyone has their own perspective, motivation, and stories. And some people simply don’t want them to be liked.
*People want to feel heard. They will reach out to someone who will not dismiss them and sadly, that someone is often a stranger. Love those around you. They need to know it often.
*The people who care about you will show you. It may not be obvious at all times, but they will. Never forget those who check in on you in their own way. They do it because they care.
*Asking for help is harder than it should be and this small incapability is taking our lives at a devastating rate.
*If you know something is ending, don’t wait. You’ll find yourself stuck in the most terrible way. If the relationship, job, current situation is bad or coming to a close, let it go. It won’t be simple but holding on won’t make your life any easier.
*Don’t forget to look for the beauty. We learn invaluable lessons by looking for them when times are tough. That is how we grow strength and resilience. We must examine our lives, take note of our missteps, and move forward with knowledge we didn’t have before in the hopes of finding a better way.
*And last but not least, no one, let me repeat that NO ONE has all their shit together. Don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise.
Although I don’t believe I save lives, for those who’ve asked, my superhero name is Seoul Survivor.
Name and Photo Courtesy of Jeff Fuller-Freeman
-Susie Reynolds Reece