Do You Know What Keeps You From Thriving?

Have you ever had a friend make you a generous offer that you couldn’t accept … even though you wanted to?

Have you secretly believed that it’s okay to extend help, but that receiving it is taboo?

Well, I have. This past week, I’ve been dealing with some health issues, and when my friend Laura found out, she offered to bring me chicken soup.

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My first thought was that that sounded like exactly what I needed. My next thought, however, was that I shouldn’t accept.

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The Only Life You Can Save.

“… determined to do

the only thing you could do–

determined to save

the only life you could save.”

– Mary Oliver, “The Journey”

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Something happened to friends of mine this past week. I won’t go into detail, because it is not my story to tell. The short version is: People I love are being unjustly excluded. And I’m angry about it.

Writing that last sentence is a big deal for me. See, for a long time I was convinced that feeling anger meant that I was a ‘bad’ person, lacking in compassion. And I wanted so much to be (and to be seen as) ‘good’. So whenever anger arose, I tried hard to make it go away.

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Set Down The Strings.

I have this counterproductive dance I do with my long-distance loved ones.

Here’s how it goes: when I don’t expect to see faraway friends and family anytime soon, I’m pretty good at keeping in touch. I make calls, write cards, and send care packages.

But when I do expect to see people soon – say, in the weeks just before a family vacation – I slack off. I don’t call, and I hold back from sharing. My justification for this is that I’m saving up the best discussion topics for in-person interaction.

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My sweet family, Thanksgiving 2015 – we’ve been taking group-shot selfies since way before they were cool.

Alas, this saving up mentality doesn’t deliver on its promises.

I don’t feel close to my loved ones when I’m hoarding information. Rather, I feel close to beloved people when I’m sharing my stories, trusting that there will always be more to tell.

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