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 …