I have to say that I'm in awe of the wonderful people who are "grandparents raising grandkids." Last evening at support group there was such honest and profound sharing of both struggles and hopes. I listened attentively and tried to learn names, and faces, and the details of each family's journey, as we're just getting started on this road together. It's a lot-- to listen. Likewise, to be truly heard means a lot. Being truly heard and accepted and affirmed has the power to heal us and make us whole.
So, listening is often the first and best response a friend can make. We can be friends to one another-- all of us, if we just make the commitment to show up and care enough to listen. I've logged a good number of hours listening for a living ( I've been a pastor for over 20 years, so I've heard a lot of stories), but I never get tired of hearing people share their lives in a safe, caring setting. Of course, it's all confidential, so I would not share the particulars; The integrity of the group depends on bonds of trust and confidence. Yet, what I do want to tell you here is that I truly believe that support groups "work." We human beings need one another. Ever since the kitchen table was invented, people gathered around with a cup of coffee (or whatever), and talked it out. When you hear yourself saying something, it often becomes clearer, more real, even less overwhelming-- if you know someone supports you, accepts you and gives you the time of day to hear you. Also, when you hear another person's story, it may very well give you a new perspective of what you're experiencing in your own life. Shared sorrows, shared joys-- they shape us into a community. We're on this journey together.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I know there are many things you could be doing, and so I thank you for your time. There is just one more thing I'll say here: Creating many connections (forming many good, positive relationships) on this journey we share is one of the most important things we human beings can do. I came across a new website that is all about social workers helping people (and making positive supportive connections). If you want to see the great things that social workers can offer as helping professionals, look here for a beginning. https://www.helpstartshere.org/. I plan to write another blog about my findings on their website, just in case you want a little insight from me about the world of social work that is available, for the asking.