We are not responsible for anyone except ourselves. Sometimes we need a reminder of this truth, and yesterday I felt whacked upside of my head with it. I've had an emotional week, on the heels of a difficult and draining month, and when one more apple comes into your already overflowing cart, the whole thing can tip, and you have an emotional mess flowing everywhere.
I'm so grateful for a couple of good friends who managed to be there during this volcanic eruption, and who demonstrated the fine art of compassion and support when I was in dire need of both. Being validated by other people is an act of healing in itself. They said, "We see you hurting, and this is what we observe, and we'll pray for you to look at the situation with new eyes."
There were hugs and "I love you's", and something deep down inside that was sore and festering got some air, and I think I turned a corner that has been very hard for me to navigate. My internal GPS was malfunctioning when it came to this personal situation, and my friends gently steered me on a better course.
This kind of thing is why we need friends. They assured me that I wasn't responsible for the person I was concerned about, and it felt a little like that pivotal scene in Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams as the therapist repeats to Matt Damon's damaged genius, over and over, "It's not your fault, it's not your fault" until he really gets it in his soul. "You are not responsible" was what I needed to hear, and after a number of times, it began to bloom in the hard soil of my heart, and I think it will all be easier for me now.
There is something powerful about caring for each other, and really taking the time to speak into each other's lives. I've been making an effort this week to do that for people around me, to take a few minutes to tell them I see them, I feel for them, and provide encouragement that they are good moms/friends/husbands/kids. Last night I got a dose of what I've been trying to give out, and the power of that encouragement and support cannot be measured. Its effects are far reaching, and healing, and quite possibly could change the world.