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?