Make a statement of clarity by listening first. Be kind and you will never be lost.
You can jump to conclusions and reactions, but you can also jump to the heart of a matter.
You have to listen first. You have to make a clearing of kindness–a space that feels safe and just.
Clear it quietly, softly, firmly. No need to plant flowers, though they are nice.
People will start to talk. You may grow weary, bored, unsure, even annoyed.
Be patient. After a bit, it will be less forest, more trees–clarity.
And you’ll have to remove debris–old, decaying ideas that have long since lost their stamina. Yours. Your debris. Set it aside. That’s part of the clearing. Part of the kindness. Part of the receiving.
Then help those who come to clear their debris. It’s harder for some and hardest for others.
Patience. With time, that space will fill with honesty, and I mean the whole big story, not just the part that pays the bills, one narrow slice. The truth will grow there.
Our kids are hurting, which means our families are hurting. And you can be like salve to their smallest pains, which would otherwise become infected.
You can’t change the story, nor should you–as it is the overcoming, bit by bit, of our very own adversities that builds us up, if we aren’t undone by them.
And that’s where you come in. One champion. One cheerleader. One safe relationship. You won’t win the battle. They have to do that, just as we have to do that, for ourselves.
It is the healing processes, not the individual achievements, that make us one day whole. It is the victories as well as the tear-streaked moments that matter.
And life hurts us. And we become hurt. And from there we open. Or we close. We become soft. Or hard. We become curious. Or we become judgmental. We are a pendulum racing between two extremes.
And we turn toward wonder and awe. Or we turn toward escapism. Or we turn toward needing to be the expert. Or we turn away.
And though we know some things, we do not get to know another person’s story better than he or she does. We are not looking on an abstract canvas, declaring what we see–don’t you see a giraffe there, look?
We do not get to pin the story on the neighbor.
When we presume to know, we miss it by a mile every time. When we’re just grasping at one part of a whole, which may be a disguise, in order to declare our competence and certainty, we are wrong.
We can only be who we are in any moment. We can only greet ourselves anew, daily, right where we are.
Be as open or as closed as you are today, but be intentional about where you are going and who you are taking with you. Be clear. Be kind. You’ll never be lost.