Last week I wrote about ending toxic relationships in my life. This was and is a very difficult thing.
Ending them was both hard and sad. Even when I know that endings are sometimes the healthiest thing I can do, I continue to feel sadness and the fullness of loss. Ending relationships is another layer of loss in seasons of change.
By ending these relationships though, I have created more peace in my life. And in so doing, more emotional and mental space too. Recognizing when relationships have run their course is challenging and important. It turns out that not all our relationships are meant to be life-long. Some are only for a season. Some bring great joy, support our growth, or purpose and require a special kind of acknowledgement. Others exceed their expiration date. For all kinds of reasons, they no longer support or serve us. Mostly I think this has to do with our own healing and growth. As we gain better emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical health, the need for clearer boundaries becomes evident.
In the release of relationships, I’ve discovered an increased capacity to be alert to other people. I’m finding myself more curious about who is in my life and who I might like to get to know better.
Watershed moments include curiosity about the people who show up. They may be old friends from long ago. They may be people who have been part of our experience or who have had a similar experience and know the need for great support. They may be people who show themselves out of the blue – we perhaps understand them as acquaintances but now can consider them as new collaborators in our life journey.
I remember a friend sharing her experience of someone showing up from an unexpected quarter. I was in the middle of my divorce at the time. She had already been through hers. While going through her divorce a neighbor called her every single morning as she was driving to work. This neighbor offered brief words of encouragement for the day. She showed up. A consistent phone call, a few words of encouragement, meant the world to the receiver. I thought long and hard about what that would have meant to me if it had been part of my divorce experience.
Divorce is difficult, hard, crazy, and unsettling loss of relationships. Every divorce like every death loss is unique and individual. And the circumstances surrounding a loss can add to the experience and the sense of trauma or grief.
I thought so much of this idea that when a friend was going through her traumatic loss experience, I decided to pass it on by calling every day. We did not speak each day, we agreed that I would simply leave a voice mail message so she didn’t have to answer – and the message would be waiting whenever she felt like listening. I took this practice a little further by reading a piece of scripture, sharing a poem or a quote in most of the messages. I do not know how long I left messages – it was weeks. I did not know this person well but what I knew was how isolating and damn hard loss can be. I looked for ways to reach out and speak to her. I know from her comments to me that it mattered.
All this to say there are a million ways for us to stand with someone as they go through their watershed moment. Something that might only take a few moments to do can matter for years to come.
What have you been on the receiving end of during a watershed season? How did someone unexpected touch your loss experience? Or what have you offered another in support and encouragement? Share your experience here with us!
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