A New Welcome and A Fresh Start

God bless the people who know you better than you know yourself.

Friends til the end. (Fall 2007)

The ones who challenge you to move forward, to go deeper, to be braver than you think you know how to be. My friend and former college roommate Rachel has been such a person for me. And something she said this past November has proved quite prescient.

We were meeting one morning for coffee in Washington, DC. My husband Jonathan and I were on an epic road trip, and I’d planned too many dates with friends along the way. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t seem to stop meeting people. I’d missed everyone so much.

Fortunately, once I had a coffee in my hands and Rachel’s brilliant blue eyes before me, I started to come alive.

We talked about her work, and mine. And then she said, “I’m so proud of you, and your writing. And I know how much you love your brother and L’Arche and the folks with special needs there. But I want to encourage you not to box yourself in.

You’re not solely a special needs writer. I don’t want you to become a one-trick pony, someone who’s only sharing stories from the past. Because that’s not all you are.

She spoke with her trademark, loving candor, but the words unsettled me. I honestly couldn’t foresee a time when I would feel confined in that way.

Fast-forward to the present. I’m feeling an unusual sense of stagnation. When I try to stay ‘on topic’ in my writing, it feels forced. When I give myself permission to go ‘off track,’ the words flow. What’s going on?

Eventually, I admit it to myself: Rachel was right. 

***

When I began A Wish Come Clear in January 2011, it made sense that I was sharing special needs-centric stories each week, since I was working full-time for L’Arche. But now, the stories I have to share aren’t the same. They’ve changed as my life has changed.

With this shift comes some feeling of uprooting; it’s unsettling to feel that my center has shifted. But with the help of trusted friends, I’m seeing it in another way. I’m seeing the special needs community as part of the foundation for my written work, rather than the exclusive subject.

And I’m seeing this a process of getting closer to the heart of A Wish Come Clear, what this place has been about all along. 

***

At its core, A Wish Come Clear is about learning to accept people as they are, not as we wish they would be. So I want to live and write into our current tagline – helping you find meaning in your most challenging relationships – in a new way.

Why? Because when I look at you, dear readers, I see a diverse group.

I see caregivers who support adults with dementia, and parents of children on the autism spectrum. And I also see life coaches, parents, spiritual seekers, fellow writers, artists, and creatives.

I see a community that celebrates what others overlook. I see people who want to go deep and look beyond the surface, people who know that there are sacred stories to be uncovered within our ordinary days.

Improving Decision Making, Harvard, 2009

And because I see you, categorizing the blog in the way I used to doesn’t make sense anymore. We’re not solely a special needs community. Instead, it’s a shared spirit of searching that ties us together.

So I’m going to honor that. I’m going to keep telling true stories that give you a sense of solidarity, a feeling that you’re not alone in relational struggles. I’m going to keep writing about those moments of illumination, the ones that guide us forward.

***

Should I have figured all this out back in November? My answer is, surprisingly, no. Progress – in art and in life – isn’t always linear. We see the light when we see it, not a moment sooner or later. [Click to Tweet this.]

All I can do now is tell you: I’m so excited about this change. I’m so happy to say …

Welcome. The door is open wider now. Come on in.

***

Extend the welcome! Invite those you love to receive posts via email, along with a FREE copy of Your Creed of Care: How To Dig For Treasure In People (Without Getting Buried Alive). [Click to Tweet this.]

14 thoughts on “A New Welcome and A Fresh Start

  1. Joan Fischer says:

    Dear Caroline,
    As always, beautifully said, purposefully thought through, and for me exceptionally timely. I am at a crossroads where change is inevitable, wondering why I hadn’t realized it sooner. Thank you so for your profound comment; we see the light, when we see it, not a moment sooner or later.” Those words have provided me with the insight to embrace the idea of a fresh start and the motivation to move forward without the self-doubt of “why didn’t I welcome this before?” Thank you love.
    Hugs and kisses, Aunt Joan

    • Aunt Joan, I’m so happy to hear that! Thrilled to know that this post came at a good time for you. And I can’t wait to hear about your fresh start. Big hugs right back. 🙂

  2. Renee says:

    What I love about your writing, Caroline, is that even though it is/was special-needs-focused, I can almost always relate to it, even though I am not a caretaker or a family member or friend to a “special needs” person.

    Really, at one time or another in our lives, we all have special needs, whether you define that as a physical, emotional, intellectual or some other handicap. Your writing speaks beautifully to moments of grace in our lives and finding the beauty, joy, and the most important lesson in any given situation. Keep it up, sweetie.

  3. Susannah says:

    “Progress – in art and in life – isn’t always linear. We see the light when we see it, not a moment sooner or later.” –> loved that Cari–it’s going into my journal of encouraging/life. EXACTLY what i needed to hear today..thanks so much for sharing. 🙂 I’m excited for you too!

  4. You have so much wisdom and heart to share, Caroline. Definitely don’t hold back!

    I really like what Renee had to say and I think that will become more and more true as technology continues to outpace human capacity. I think you should take a look at some of the human performance literature I’ve been reading. Needs fall along several spectrums, and Renee is right, we all need help sometimes.

    • What a cool idea! Thank you so much, Jen – I’ll look forward to hearing your reading recommendations. And yes, I couldn’t agree more – we all need help sometimes. (This is particularly resonant because I have a strained back, so I’m limping around this week!)

  5. Bronte Bailey says:

    Our lives, by their very nature, are always growing and changing. I look forward to reading your posts each week and always find a point of connectivity with your words.

    Thank-you for the effort you put into writing.

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