Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

On the importance of being gentle

It's been several weeks since I read the obituary that stopped me in my tracks. Although I never met Dr. Andrea Beerman, I felt connected to her. I saw in her my sisters, my daughters, my nieces, my cousins, my younger self. Since writing about the "mystery" of her death, many people contacted me, through my blog or personal email. Everyone expressed profound sorrow. Nearly all posed questions. Many, like me, were questioning how she died ~ and for those who knew that she had taken her own life, they too were looking for answers. Several shared personal stories of loved ones who had passed, and the questioning that came with those suicides, and the wrenching grief that accompanied the losses. Others wrote of the necessity of kindness and the awareness that each of us humans is suffering in some way. "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle," one woman quoted. Truth, on the page.

One writer in particular, a woman who attended the Center for Spiritual Living in KC, the same church as Andrea Beerman, had much to say. Her name is Sharon Riley, and I have her permission to post the following:

"So if there's anything to be learned from this ~ tell your children to risk being vulnerable when they are in a rough or rocky place.  Share.  Talk to someone.  All my friends and I are re-affirming to each other:  Please, if there is ever a time when you need to talk ~ know that I am here.  We all have trials, we all have issues ... no one is perfect.  We aren't meant to be.  We need to know that we have each other's backs and will be there for each other.  But first we have to be vulnerable about our 'stuff.'  True friends will never judge.  They will only listen.  My prayers now each day for Andrea are that no person ever has to feel this alone while surrounded by many many others that are just longing to help or listen.  My prayer is that others will be open and be vulnerable when they have to ~ so that we can help and heal each other. 
I will never forget Andrea or her story.   I just wish she could have talked to me. Or to anyone.  But I know that everyone at CSL and all her friends and family are feeling that same way right now.  So tell your children not to be afraid to be vulnerable.  And tell them they don't have to be perfect.  None of us are.  It's ok.  Tell them to take joy in whatever they choose to do and to measure success only by how they truly feel, not by any other society standard.  Tell them to risk ~ risk making mistakes, risk being vulnerable, risk sharing their problems and pain as well as their joys with friends and to be as forgiving as they can.
Because everyone is doing the best they can ~ given what they know at any given time.  We have to be gentle with each other."

Amen.

1 comment:

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