Do you remember that butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling of excitement you get when you are trying something new, like the first time your Dad let go of your bike and you wobbled down the road on your own? You progressed from the three-wheeled support of your tricycle, that you had learned to pedal at manic speed, to the shaky security of training wheels, to the now freedom of two-wheels and new horizons. You were invisible. Surely, one of your parents was close by if needed, but … you were free, on your own, no support necessary.
Growing up is like that. Parents support their children to the best of their abilities. Teachers guide and coach their students to embrace and expand their learning. Friends encourage or challenge us to try new things and seek out new adventures. As children there is always (hopefully) someone there to support us, guide us, and pick us up when we fall and get hurt. Then we become big boys and girls, young adults, and we are on our own; no supports, no training wheels. Just life and us. Freedom.
Most of the time we are comfortable with that independence. That is, until life happens: job loss, relationship failure, financial challenge, health crisis, aging parents, or death. If you are like me, it is times like these when it would be nice to have a little support, a bit of guidance, and a touch of comfort. At these times, life reminds us that we are not in this alone. We need each other. We need the support of our family, friends, and neighbors.
If this has not happened to you yet, it will. Life is like that. Of course, we can choose to stay closed, isolated, and independent, “me-focused.” The isolation creates an illusion of control and protection, but ironically it just barricades us from belonging, support, and compassion.
Those of us who have been fortunate enough to be parents or teachers know that along with the young one’s pride in their accomplishments is the even greater gratification of giving and championing the growth and needs of another. We are in this life together; no one enters this world alone and as my father’s hospice nurse said, “No one should leave this world alone.”
MORE Relationships form the training wheels needed to support our journeys.
Watch for more excerpts from my upcoming book, the little book of MORE: the evolution of YOU.