Wednesday, November 26, 2008

being there

A week ago I was at a clergy gathering at which we shared pastoral concerns. It was the day after learning the results of Ken's stress test, and before we were able to meet with the cardiologist. It had been a difficult not-quite 24 hours, and we were uncertain about what lay ahead. I shared Ken's situation with my colleagues.

Before departing from the gathering many spoke to me individually to offer their support and assure me of their prayers for Ken, and for me. One of my colleagues offered to gather some of "the sisterhood" (as I call them--my female clergy colleagues) to meet with me so that I had a place to share my concerns and receive support. Yesterday morning Ken asked me what my plans were for the day, and I told him of the small group being convened for support. He stopped in his tracks, asked "whose idea was that?" When I told him, he replied, "that is so sweet!" And then, after a moment's hesitation he added, "no one has ever done anything like that for me."

There are two things to say about this. One is that yes, it is very sweet and thoughtful of my colleague to have offered to gather this group, to make it happen, and for my sisterhood to rally around me. The time I spent with them yesterday was valuable to all of us, and therapeutic for me. I am blessed to have such colleagues who carved time out of their own busy schedules to make a space for my need.

The other thing is that Ken is, sadly, isolated from good friendship. This isn't the place to delve into any particulars or to "parse" the situation, but it is a place to acknowledge and grieve his isolation. I share it here because his truth affects my life and shapes how I care for him. I share it here because it doesn't hurt for others to know when a person is in pain, physically or otherwise. I share it because I can do no less.

I love the picture above because it represents a truth about support and prayer. It isn't about size or age, or even about faith, but about one soul being embraced by another. It represents my experience as one who supports, and one who has been supported. It gives me comfort, and reflects my peace.

I include this other picture because it is irresistable, and reflects another truth. We can find all around us companions who lighten our load, and who do what they are able to share our burdens. Sometimes those beings are closer than we realize. Whether or not dogs go to heaven (and I believe they do), the presence of loved ones on earth make a difference.

To all of you who come here, thank you for being there for me.


Maria said...

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you Anne! Sorry to hear about the worries. Think of you often and know that you are both in my prayers.

Jayne said...

Feeling the presence of others, whether it be actual or even virtual, makes all the difference in the world. We all need to know we matter and are being thought about by others. That sort of support is like breathing and we all should have an outlet. Maybe Ken's could start in a virtual community? Remember, it's how we first met? On Beliefnet? On-line communities, whether it be message boards or bloggers, fill a huge void and can be such a blessing. Just an idea.

Love and tight hugs to you both.


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