Gratitude for the Walking Wounded

The first thing that made my gratitude prayers yesterday was that I had been given the opportunity to be of service to someone else. About grief and moving on. Twice recently, and again last night.

The first time, a woman I do not know was referred to me by a mutual friend. She lost her husband a few months back and was struggling to make sense of her life now. The woman didn’t ask me for anything except to be her Facebook friend. She needed someone who has been where she is.  When she is ready for more, I’ll be here for that, too.  This blog has been helpful to her, and for that I am thankful.

The second was a former coworker I had the chance to catch up with.  A 1-1/2 hour phone call was hardly enough time, but we covered a lot of ground.  Among other things we talked about was that she felt I had been a mentor to her and she encouraged me to consider writing about that.  She helped me see value in my past experiences.

Then last night a friend contacted me and asked for advice. Her daughter suffered the loss of her baby boy a while back. She is pregnant again now and has another child as well.  My friend is at her wit’s end trying to help with the granddaughter, providing a home for the daughter, being with her own mother who lives nearby, and paying attention to her own marriage. She needs support to put her own needs on this list of people she is nurturing.

It occurred to me again how we are all walking wounded, carrying our own crosses, so to speak. Some of us are able to put them in a pocket or a purse. Some of us have to use both hands, and some of us have chains to drag them along with us. We can’t always tell what that cross looks like because we can’t see it; we don’t know how heavy it is; we don’t know if someone needs or wants help if they don’t ask.  And even when help is offered, it is hard to share or hand over our cross because we think the other person has their own cross, too.  The interesting thing is that I can set my own cross down while I am helping someone else.  There are times I don’t even realize I have forgotten to pick my cross back up, or when I do, it’s not as heavy as I remembered.

It’s one thing to ask for help, and then it’s another to receive it. I’m at that place where I am doing both again – I’m not stuck in one place any longer.  Asking for help is a sign of strength; it means we are strong enough to know we need help and that we are trusting the world is ultimately a good place and the helper is a good person.  Being allowed to help is also a gift. It lets us show how much we care.  It lets us feel strong because we are needed.  And it helps us understand how our own past needs or experiences have led us to being able to help now.

You know who you are – thank you for sharing your stories with me and asking me to listen or letting me help.  You have helped me take another step forward in my own recovery.  Today I ask for the opportunity to be of service again, to help make the world a better place, to help the wounded get better.

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