On Wednesday, we hosted the first session in a six week course on parenting children. Fifteen families with young children have registered to participate in the course, and while Wednesday came complete with the normal noise and chaos of having 20 small children in the same place, it was really good to gather together and to hear that we are not alone in many of the struggles that come with being a parent.
I guess that is the benefit of a support group – whether it is our journey with grief, or addiction, or an illness, knowing that there are others who understand and who walk a similar road goes a long way to helping us find healing and wholeness. The other benefit connecting with a group of people who are walking a similar road to you is that we give ourselves permission to name our struggles, and to share our story in the process. Too often we think we have to have everything altogether, and if we don't have it together, then we fail. But the reality is, things fall apart for all of us, often, and growth happens not from trying to keep ourselves fixed but in making room in our lives and our stories for the broken parts. Life is very seldom either/or – either happy or sad, either good or bad. Most times life is both/and, and in making room for both we are better able to learn from whatever it is we are experiencing. And we find ourselves able to share the journey with others, rather than hide it.
Richard Rohr says we all need at least one good humiliation a day – to remind us we are only human, as well as to teach us things about ourselves that we'd perhaps rather not have to deal with. This small piece of advice has changed my perspective profoundly when it comes to feeling foolish, and trying to make it look like I have all my ducks in a row. So now, if you see me hunting wildly for some ducks, to place in a row, you will know I am trying to make room in my life for order and chaos, for grief and joy, and I am simply learning how to be real about who I am and how I am. Won't you join me?
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