In helping, we grow. It's impossible not to. And even when we think we have nothing to offer, with our near-empty pockets and our bare cupboards, there is always something we can give. Always. Often, it's without knowing "how" that our giving has the most impact. This is a beautiful thing...and it can leave you feeling like you're the wealthiest person alive.
I got a call today, from someone who is both brilliant and caring. He's a very smart fellow, full of grand and unusual ideas. He is well educated, and uses that knowledge to help others. He's also very creative, although he's not so sure about that (but I am!). And so, he called today with questions and doubts and fragmented thoughts that were leaving him confounded. He reached out because, for whatever reason, even though we don't know each other all that well, I was the person he felt would be able to help him navigate the very murky waters he found himself struggling in. I was (and still am) deeply touched.
After he shared where he was and how he was feeling, he asked if there was anything I could offer that might help him see more clearly this "place" he's stuck in. As he'd been speaking, I'd said a little prayer, asking for some guidance to help him. "Give me the right words to help. Let me be the conduit. Keep me open so I may pass on what he needs." Simple words to help me so I can avoid delivering a 'sermon' (ICK!) or making someone feel "less than" anything.
I do this a lot.
It works. (cool stuff)
When it was 'my turn' to speak, I began by asking this question:
"Why do you suppose you look at all the new ideas as weeds?"
(he's used this phrase several times before, and I'm always surprised when he does. How can your brilliant thoughts, that keep branching out and bringing more new thoughts, be referred to as weeds???)
He was quiet for more than a few moments. He finally said that he'd never really thought about why he used that word, or even realized that he did. "It's just a figure of speech", he said.
Oh no it isn't.
It's the way you feel about it. It's the way you perceive it. It's the way, deep down without realizing it, you are viewing this "thing" that's causing you such frustration and angst. It is not "just a figure of speech...it is an EXPRESSION of how you feel!"
BoyHowdy! Sometimes, when stuff like that comes outta my mouth, it even blows MY mind. (and then I say a big 'thank you'...for the words I've asked for...)
So there we were...sitting in the silence, both digesting the feelings that were flying around. I could tell he was trying to find words. I could feel his relief. And his surprise. I could tell that this was language few people used with him. After all, he's the smart one. He's the one who does this kind of thing for his "living". Nobody talks to him that way.
Then he said that he was so grateful to have met me. That I'm the only person who ever says these kinds of things to him. Not even his girlfriend talks to him like this.
"You have no idea how great it is to have you in my world."
And I thought I had nothing to give.