Love is a conduit

I had something else planned, for today, but then I read Karen’s post and realized there was something different I needed to say.

Once upon a time I was a Stephen Minister, and at a certain point during my tenure as a single mom, it was one of the things that needed to be cut from my schedule to help preserve my sanity. I really regretted having to step down—it was and is something I feel strongly about—but there is only so much time in the day, you know? And I was heeding some excellent advice from a friend, too, at the time: You cannot help others if you haven’t helped yourself. My translation was something more along the lines of “You can’t be useful to someone else if you haven’t gotten any sleep,” but yeah, that.

And with our church-hopping here in Georgia, I still have not returned to the program.

Last Christmas, one of the things Otto gave me was a lovely necklace with a pendant of a hand with a swirl in the center. He explained that it was a Native American symbol for a healer, and that he’d gotten it for me to wear once I was ready to go back to Stephen Ministry. It’s lovely, and it was a very thoughtful thing for him to get me, and because I haven’t gone back and don’t consider myself a healer I put it away and haven’t worn it even once.

Yesterday I was discussing discipline and consequences for the kids with someone, and when asked what I do when they hurt each other I rambled through a few possible sanctions, finally concluding, “They have to make it right. That varies, depending on the situation and what happened and everything… but, I can’t fix what they’ve done, THEY have to make it right for the person they hurt.”

And then I read Karen’s post this morning, and I had a little epiphany.

Stephen Ministers are NOT “healers” in any sense of the word, though I still thought it very touching that Otto made that connection. That particular job is merely to be a companion to someone in need; the healing in that situation comes from God, with the Stephen Minister acting only as an aide, of sorts.

And yeah, I guess it suddenly occurred to me that being a parent is not a whole lot different. That my job here is to shepherd my kids through the journey they need to take, but that I am no more capable of fixing them than I am of fixing the car if it’s having a problem. I can help. I can guide. I can search for healing alongside them, but that doesn’t make me a healer. I don’t need to be a healer.

And that led to the next thought, which is that this pretty much applies to everyone, parents or no. The same holds true for my OWN life; that I seek healing, redemption, peace, all of those things; but I find them by opening myself to the right guidance, not because I have any sort of mystical powers of my own.

I want my kids to be whole. I want my family to be whole. I want to be whole. That’s a mighty responsibility, and a mighty generous gift, too.

It means being willing, and ready, to be healed. It means not letting everything else get in the way of what’s already there. It also means we’re all healers, if we want to be.

So today, I’m wearing my necklace.

Come what may. I’ll do my best.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Are you ready?

30 Responses to “Love is a conduit”

  1. 1
    Heather October 2, 2008 at 11:00 am #

    You are a wonderfully brave woman, Mir. All the best!

  2. 2
    Megan October 2, 2008 at 11:04 am #

    Beautiful. Like all parents I struggle – sometimes more than others – with this constantly. Helping my children to achieve wholeness for themselves some days feels an impossible task. Thanks for helping me remember that it is the journey to wholeness, the constant striving, that brings strength and growth.

  3. 3
    Aimee October 2, 2008 at 11:06 am #

    The necklace is beautiful — and so are your words.

  4. 4
    Barbara October 2, 2008 at 11:10 am #

    Some call it baiting. A tease. You really want me to include this post in my blog carnival on Healing on Monday. I know you do.

    Okay, I will. You’re welcome!

  5. 5
    Naomi in Ohio October 2, 2008 at 11:10 am #

    Timely, needed and poignant.

    Thanks for not writing about what you had planned on.

  6. 6
    Jean October 2, 2008 at 11:20 am #

    Mir, your words never fail to touch me. Simply beautiful!

    PS…the necklace is fabulous!

  7. 7
    jennielynn October 2, 2008 at 11:26 am #

    This post was exactly what I needed to hear today. I’ve been struggling with how to help my father, beyond lifting the straw to his lips and scratching his nose. I cannot tell you how utterly helpless I have felt. Your words put things into perspective for me. Thank you so much, Mir.

  8. 8
    The Other Leanne October 2, 2008 at 11:46 am #

    That’s a beautiful necklace, and you are worthy of wearing it.

  9. 9
    dad October 2, 2008 at 11:59 am #

    Thanks Mim.
    I take great pride in having provided some guidance, however minimal but well intended, to getting you to where you are today. Rather remarkable…and the necklace is almost as beautiful as you.

  10. 10
    Flea October 2, 2008 at 12:28 pm #

    It’s a beautiful necklace and a beautiful symbol. Happy Love Thursday, Mir.

  11. 11
    Crisanne October 2, 2008 at 12:50 pm #

    Between you and your dad…wonderful, imperfect, yet unconditional love. Thanks for sharing it with us today!

  12. 12
    Carolyn October 2, 2008 at 12:53 pm #

    I *knew* there was a reason I was feeling like this. It’s Love Thursday!

    Beautiful post, and beautiful necklace.

  13. 13
    Mandee October 2, 2008 at 1:57 pm #

    Lovely.

  14. 14
    Hip Mom's Guide October 2, 2008 at 2:04 pm #

    This is incredibly insightful:

    “It means being willing, and ready, to be healed. It means not letting everything else get in the way of what’s already there. It also means we’re all healers, if we want to be.”

    Thanks, Mir!

  15. 15
    Sheila October 2, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    I just got back from my first bible study session, a place I’m not sure I felt worthy to be, but one of the things that will always stick with me was hearing, “Feel free to share, or not, but know that when God puts something in your heart for you to share, it may not be you who needs to hear it. It may be the person sitting next to you, or two pews over.” No pressure or anything, but I kind of feel like you are my person two pews over who always has the guts to share. Thank you for that.

  16. 16
    elswhere October 2, 2008 at 2:43 pm #

    This is a really good thought for the week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, too. Thanks.

  17. 17
    Ray October 2, 2008 at 2:46 pm #

    The best laid plans are often best laid aside. While I’m sure your planned post would have been lovely, this one was especially touching and timely.

    Happy Love Thursday,indeed!

  18. 18
    ChristieNY October 2, 2008 at 3:27 pm #

    Touching, and perfect for us parents who are struggling finding their place in this world… thank you. :)

  19. 19
    The Mom October 2, 2008 at 4:07 pm #

    From a current single mom to a former one….thank you!

  20. 20
    Shalet October 2, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    Wonderful necklace and wonderful words.

  21. 21
    Katie in MA October 2, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    Beautiful, Mir. I’m glad you’ve found your way back to your path, and I appreciate how your healing words are helping me and others find our own way, too. You’ve helped me through many a tough situation, just knowing you’ve been there before. Thank you for your companionship… Happy Love Thursday!

  22. 22
    Randi October 2, 2008 at 6:35 pm #

    Awww – very sweet. I’m not a religious sort of person, but you’re right in that as parents we are supposed to guide them. Sometimes I think Scott and I tend to forget that and we (Scott especially) try to get the kids to go where WE want them to go and don’t give them the opportunity to just be themselves.

    Beautiful necklace as well.

  23. 23
    Wendy October 2, 2008 at 6:51 pm #

    That necklace is sooooo cute, meaning or no meaning I would have had to wear it. But since you explained the meaning, it just makes it that much better. Also I think you a healer to others through your writing, at least for me. Thanks!

  24. 24
    melanie October 2, 2008 at 8:22 pm #

    As beautiful as this post was, the tears really started flowing when I read dad’s comment. I heart Love Thursdays.

  25. 25
    juliness October 2, 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    I love this post! And I consider you a healer, my friend, whether affiliated with a religious organization or not. You have spoken truth and love in my life and I will be forever grateful.

  26. 26
    annette October 2, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

    As I began reading this post, I was hoping that you would come to the conclusion you did! Happy Love Thursday!

  27. 27
    tripleblessings October 3, 2008 at 3:44 am #

    wow, that’s beautiful. i’m bookmarking this one.

  28. 28
    Kelly October 3, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    This is a lovely post. Have you ever heard the song “The One Who Knows” by Dar Williams? Your words remind me of the sentiment expressed in that song (one of my favorites.)

  29. 29
    Fran October 6, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    This is very beautiful, and very insightful. I’m glad Barbara included your post in her carnival.

  30. 30
    terri October 8, 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    Beautiful post and beautiful necklace. I will be thinking of this often.

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