Thursday, October 3, 2013

Walk With Me

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galations 6:2

Even at a gathering with like-minded colleagues, we still stuck out a bit, my quirky compadre and me.  In an attempt to keep my appetizer of nothing but meats from coming in contact with gluten or dairy, the plate was placed in very close proximity to my beloved friend, who happens to be a devout vegetarian.  As we all scrambled to find a spot that wouldn’t put meat near her, or gluten on my carnivorous antipasto, my friend winked at me and took the plate.  “Leave it here,” she insisted, “It’s fine.  Unless, of course, anyone else would like some dead animal before I put it down?”  Humor with an unexpected twist and understanding, the foundations of our friendship, were visible once more.  With hummus and edamame on her plate and “dead animal” on mine, my friend came along side me, so I wouldn’t feel alone.

            When other people in the birth community find out she and I know one another, they are somewhat surprised.  I live in the country, she lives in Los Angeles.  I have mom hair, she rocks a faux hawk.  While we both taught earlier in our lives, we were on opposing ends of the spectrum there, as well.  While I was playing “Ring around the rosie” with my class of preschoolers, my buddy was a prominent dance instructor.  While my students were barely potty trained, hers could drive!  I’m an extrovert, she’s an introvert.  I’m barely a year into birth work, she has her PHD and writes for major perinatal publications.  I drink almond milk, she drinks soy.  To say that we’re different has a bit of a “duh factor” involved.  But what brings us together?  More opposites …

            We “met” on a fellow friend’s Facebook page, cracking one another up with our shared love of zany humor.  We stayed in contact to share and discuss some hardships we had both shared surrounding our births and our battles with Postpartum Depression.  Our stories were different, even in these areas, but we both had a burning desire to support and help women.  Through our laughter and tears, a kinship grew. 

            As we grew to learn more about one another, we shared more pieces of our lives.  Some we both had experienced in one way or another, some we could not relate to, but support was always there.  One phrase I heard from her during a particularly challenging season with Wyatt gave me unexpected support from a friend who had never walked that path.  It literally changed how I view any person in crisis, whether I believe I have had similar experiences or not.  I’m sure she probably doesn’t even remember saying it.  It was so simple, but so powerful: “Wow, I don’t know anything about your life experience.”

            While you might think that made me feel alone, it actually made me feel validated.  My feelings, my situation, my struggles were unique.  Following that statement, she encouraged me by telling me that I was a strong, caring, and competent mom.   She told me she had no advice to offer, but she would listen.  She would care.  She would walk with me. 

            I am blessed with some very special friends who also have some of the same struggles I do, but none of my friends share all my struggles, and I don’t need them to.  I always assumed that “bearing one another’s burdens” required personal experience, extensive knowledge or both to be truly effective.  I no longer believe that.  You don’t need to have lost a spouse, battled cancer or experienced the sting of unemployment to be a good friend; you need to be willing to hear their stories, to see their pain and to bow your head with them as they wrestle with God, waiting for Him to lay words of encouragement on your heart.  There is something to be said for solidarity and camaraderie, but at the end of the day, if you want to be Jesus to a hurting person, leave the wisdom to the experts, the healing to The Great Physician, and simply walk with them.  

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About Me

I'm not your average housewife; but then, neither is any other housewife I've met! My life is a constant blur of kids, animals, hunting down and testing allergy-friendly recipes, shopping, LOTS of coffee, yarn crafting, nannying, singing and writing. I married my highschool sweetheart (the introvert who is a type-A, shy, organized, loves hunting, hiking and mountain climbing. He lives for pizza, burgers and cookies and doesn't like coffee). We are polar opposites, but Love, grace and a whole lotta Jesus can overcome anything! :) We have two boys who fill this house with lots of excitement, love, laughter and lunacy! Alan (9) is a happy-go-lucky, inventive, dramatic, eager-to-please kid who loves being dad's shadow and mom's shopping companion. He's the snuggliest kid I've ever met! Wyatt is extremely bright, inquisitive, entertaining and endearing. He lives for routine, Wii games, pixar films and writing stories. Alan is typically-developing, Wyatt has high-functioning autism. We live on an acre in the Pacific Northwest with our two aussies and 5 chickens. It's not the Waltons, but it works! :)