When we wake up in the morning, most of us can predict what life will look like. As our eyes begin to open and our brain begins to function, we awake with some semblance of a general understanding of what the day may hold for us.
Unless one moment disrupts any normalcy that once existed and shatters any chance of waking to knowing what each day, hour, second holds in the future.
That moment for me occurred two days after my husband’s car crash while on duty as a police officer. Life began to unravel for all of us. I knew that life would never be the same, and the fear and anxiety came to roost within my heart that day and each day was met with dread and fear.
I began to look around me and realize that there were people with me all of the time, and that in my grief, I was keeping a wall between me and those around me. I felt like I was alone in a sea of people that were trying to reach me. That wall and feeling of loneliness was created by my stubborn belief that I could carry along without help; that I didn’t need anyone to get through this trauma.
Breaking the Tough Exterior
That belief system was challenged by a police chaplain during a visit to see what I needed. Her calm and peace began to chip away at the wall, and I remember being able to take a few deep breaths, the first in several days. She leaned into me for a hug, and gently asked me “Why do you think you need to carry this burden alone?”
That question hit me exactly where it needed to–my heart. Why was I not allowing people in, and why would I not allow myself to lean on others, and take the strength that was being offered? Why was I trying to carry the burden by myself?
I had no answer for her, but I had an answer for myself. I didn’t need to carry this huge burden of sadness and fear alone.
Strengthening the Net
Each time I would lean further into others, I allowed the net of support to become stronger and stronger. I learned to say “yes” when someone offered help, that my CaringBridge guestbook could be the best source of hope, prayers and love when I needed to take a break and just breathe, and that support is a matter of allowing others to lean into you as well.
I could depend on the people around me to help carry the load, help with the kids and meals, and depend on others to walk alongside of me while trying to live during this scary and uncertain time. Life can change in an instant but you don’t have to walk the path alone—lean in and let others walk with you.
What does allowing yourself to lean in look like for you? Share the ways you let others help you during a health journey.
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