A Wish Come Clear

Choosing Love, Losing Fear, & Finding Home

One Question To Ask When the Going Gets Tough

On my first day of kindergarten, my mom gave me some advice.

She told me what her mother told her on the first day of school: when you walk through the doors, don’t worry about making friends. Just focus on finding the girl who looks even more upset about all this than you do. Go over to her and say hello. Smile. Then, you’ll have a friend.

My five-year-old-self was incredulous. Could it be that simple? With a little prompting, I gave it a shot. I walked up to a weeping girl and said, “Hi, I’m Caroline. What’s your name?”

With that, I made my first school friend. It was a serendipitous choice, since she was (is) an excellent visual artist. Back then, I could barely cut in a straight line — OK, that’s still true! — so she’d help me with arts and crafts. She didn’t like to write, so I’d help her with compositions. We saw each other through.

***

Fast-forward to the present. I long to see our community grow here at A Wish Come Clear. To this end, I’ve read many a guide, attended many a webinar, written many a guest post.

I’ve learned so much, and it has paid off, albeit slowly. A Wish Come Clear is approaching a long-held goal of 1,000 email subscribers. (Just 1% of blogs ever do that.)

Even so, it’s been an uphill battle. For a time, I couldn’t write anything without wondering: Is it supposed to be this hard to gain momentum? Is there some key piece that I’m missing? But I’ve learned that the best answer to THAT question is … another question.

It’s not What am I missing? It’s What do I have to give?

It’s the exact same shift my mother and grandmother helped me make in kindergarten. From What if I don’t fit in? to How can I offer comfort and hope?

It’s deceptively simple and surprisingly powerful. Try it on a relationship or problem that’s been nagging you. So much changes when you shift from me to you, from get to give.

***

I saw this shift in action when attended a January book signing for Rachel Macy Stafford’s New York Times bestselling book, Hands Free Mama. (We gave away a copy last month.)

I love meeting my favorite writers in person, going to talks and signings. Mostly, it’s great fun. But it’s also challenging, because I always carry this fierce longing. I always ache, wondering: Will this dream of authorship ever come true for me?

As Rachel and I conversed in person for the first time, I congratulated her on her success. Without missing a beat, she said, “Thank you! And I’ll be there when it’s your turn.” In other words, “I’ll be at your book signing, cheering you on when your time comes, because honey, it is coming.”

Tears threatened my eyes. All at once I was back in kindergarten, except now I was the one in need of comfort. Somehow, Rachel knew I needed reassurance, and she offered it without hesitation. Once again, I knew I’d found a friend.

***

How does this relate to A Wish Come Clear, to seeing our community grow? Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that growth isn’t something you force, it’s something you humbly facilitate. I’ve also learned that those New Radicals lyrics I sang in high school are spot-on: “Can’t forget, we only get what we give.”

But how to live that out? How to show I care from behind a computer screen? My offering is inspired by my friend Allison. When Allison was going through chemotherapy, she needed frequent scans to check that her cancer was shrinking. A few days before her scans, she’d post something like this: “Friends, could you send me your concerns, and give me something to pray for? It will help me get through the days ahead.”

Now, this woman had a softball-sized tumor, not to mention an infant son and a loving husband. She had every reason to worry. But she didn’t want to spend her time fearing darkness. She wanted to spend it offering light.

And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

So I’d like to follow Allison’s wise example. If there’s a person or situation in your life that needs love, write as much or as little as you like in the comments section, or send me an email (caroline@awishcomeclear.com). And I promise to pray, by which I simply mean that I will send love and light your way every day in the weeks ahead.

Finally, I’ll be traveling quite a bit in the next few weeks, and posts will be intermittent until this speaking-intensive season ends. Thank you in advance for reaching out, for sharing your requests …

I’ll carry them with me as I go.

***

Upcoming Speaking Engagements:

March 13-14: Featured Speaker at Kern Autism Society Conference, Bakersfield, CA

April 4-5: Keynote Speaker at Tennessee Adult Brothers & Sisters (TABS) Conference, Nashville, TN

April 23-24: Keynote Speaker at Arc of Illinois Convention, Lisle, IL

Stories around the Web, February 2014:

Guest post at Sarah Bessey: In Which We Fall Together at Her Feet

Leaving Normal: Weekly Column at Autism After 16

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About Caroline McGraw

I'm a would-be childhood paleontologist and recovering perfectionist turned full-time writer, digging for treasure in people and uncovering sacred stories in ordinary days. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

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10 Replies

  1. I am so honored to be mentioned in this beautiful & uplifting post! Those words came from my lips because you are a beautiful, shining light with so much to offer the world. When I see the way you go after your dream and your mission to help others, I see an unstoppable force. NOTHING is going to stop you, my friend, because your desire to share what is on your heart comes from within. You are touching hearts and that number will continue to grow. I am so blessed to cheer you on.

    1. Thank you, dear Rachel! That means a great deal to hear – such words of affirmation from true friends are what keep me going in tough times. I deeply respect and admire all you have done in the Hands Free Mama community – thank you for being an inspiration! xo

  2. Fanannie

    Please pray for Deb and Lori, who are both battling cancer. Both are moms who need to be around to raise their kids and see them grow up.

    1. Fanannie, I certainly will … thank you for sharing this request. I can tell it comes straight from the heart!

  3. Gregory Lease

    Thank you, Caroline, for once again sharing your love and wisdom. ” . . .she didn’t want to spend her time fearing darkness. She wanted to spend it offering light.” Often, just when we find ourselves in dark places, we forget that we are all light bearers, and that every time we share that light with another it brings out their light. Before we know it, we can be surrounded by light exactly where it seemed so dark before.

    1. What a great way of putting it, Greg! Thank you.

  4. Mariam

    Thank you! Just what I needed today. All the best to you in all your pursuits.

    1. Mariam, I’m so glad! Thank you for the well-wishes, and for letting me know that the post resonated with you. Have a beautiful day!

  5. Hi Caroline,
    Please pray for my sister. She’s in hospice as I write this after a long battle with cancer.
    Thanks so much. You’re amazing. I so love this post. 1 in a billion! Seriously.
    Grateful,
    Tess

    1. Tess, I’m so sorry to hear that – my heart aches for you and your family. I promise to pray. Thank you for the affirmation – honored to hear it from you, wise woman!