Sunday, April 18, 2010

Birds of a Feather

The recovery movement is based on the power of people who have the same problems helping each other. That approach works with every kind of life situation we can face. I learned this valuable lesson many years ago. When something comes up in my life, I seek out other people who have gone through the same thing. These are the people who can tell me how they got through. What helped them. What didn't. It can flatten out my own learning curve substantially.

When my mother was diagnosed with ALS, a local family who had gone through it with their mother, reached out to us. We had a difficult but oh-so-helpful meeting with them, where we could ask them the kinds of questions we couldn't ask in front of my mother. And they could tell us stuff we could not even imagine. My family learned how to walk through a fatal illness together. To make friends with death. To face terrible times and find the incredible gifts that lie within them.

The family who met with us also taught me to be a person who reaches out to others when I hear they are facing a situation I have walked through.  That kind of information and experience should be used to help others. I am a person who can listen to tough stories, the kind of thing one is reluctant to share with other people who have not been down that road.

Right now I have fantastic women walking with me.  They are ahead of me on the road. The experience they are sharing with me is priceless in helping me feel normal in my reactions to the end of a long term relationship and finding myself suddenly single.  I am talking openly about what I am experiencing because that is helping me tremendously. And one day I will be able to help other women who need to heal from a dead relationship.

Don't be a Lone Ranger. Reach out to those you know have gone through whatever you are facing. Learn from them. Let them help you. Then be there for those who will come next.

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