Who’s there for you?

October 20, 2023

On the floor of the airport in Idaho Falls
Just me and the tile and the bathroom stalls
Silent screams of my fear echoing off the walls
Not the place that I thought I’d be losing it all

Slowly, surely
Night will turn to day
Whisper softly
You’re gonna be okay

For a while, I was dazed like my brain was a maze
All the walls once familiar seemed to be rearranged
Stuck inside of a body that wasn’t my own
Then you took my hand and you guided me home

Slowly, surely
Night will turn to day
Whisper softly

You’re gonna be okay

Fry, Cody. “You’re Gonna Be Okay” The End.

That song from Cody Fry’s newest album The End so poignantly captures the sense of desperation when we are “losing it all”. I am grateful for Cody’s honest description of what it feels like to come to the end of ourselves, when our bucket of life is completely drained.

How full is your bucket these days? How much drive, passion and vitality do you possess? Are you getting up in the morning with a sense of anticipation or a deep sigh of “here we go again”?

For the past month, in my newsletters and blog, I’ve been reflecting on our “buckets”. Asking what fills us and what drains us. Last week I specifically addressed the question “Where does my help come from?” Who or what will help you identify and repair the holes in your bucket that are depleting your joy, contentment and self-worth?

I believe help can come from one of three sources: your own will, key people and the transcendent. Let’s start with the people around you. Who cares for you enough or is skilled enough to come to your aid, get you off the bathroom floor and help you patch the holes? Cody clearly had someone in mind when he wrote, “Then you took my hand, and you guided me home…”

Who will that be for you?

Human help can come from any point on the relational spectrum. On one end of the people-care continuum are experts…professionals trained and experienced to serve and heal you, e.g., medical doctors, counselors, therapists, coaches and clergy. As one of these folks, myself, let me encourage you to seek us out. Our calling is to see you well and living an extraordinary life. We are anxious to place a trustworthy hand on your shoulder and guide you in your next steps.

On the other end of the people-care spectrum are your friends and family, the people who love  you and really want to support you if you’ll just let them in on your struggles. Why do you persist in keeping things to yourself? You know very well that if one of your people came to you asking for help, guidance or support, you’d drop everything to come to their aid. So, stop with the fear of being a bother. It’ll take a village to patch your bucket and refill it.

It’ll take experts as well as loved ones to renew your life-force, but there’s one more small group of people, in the middle of the people-care continuum that I believe are essential in your journey. The Celts called them anamchara, a Gaelic word that means “soul friend”. Most folks have just one or only a few of these trusted companions. Some call them mentors. Carl McColman describes these precious friends as those who “share the yearning of your heart” and “know your soul”. In his book “An Invitation to Celtic Wisdom”, McColman suggests, “We need to make it a priority to be intentional about forming (or finding) at least one relationship that extends beyond just talking about the weather or the news or the daily drama of our feelings – and take the contemplative time necessary to truly befriend the hidden depths that lie within each of us, depths that we so rarely allow a voice.”

My longest lasting anamchara is Charlie. For over 30 years we’ve met, once a month for coffee at 7:00 a.m., to share our lives, sometimes with smiles and other times with tears. Other than my wife, no one knows my soul as well as Charlie. He can tell if my bucket is full or empty. He knows whether I need encouragement or a gentle admonition. I hope I offer him the same.

Who is your trusted companion? Where are your friends and family? What experts have you consulted? Where does your help come from? Who is there to remind you…

Slowly, surely
Night will turn to day
Whisper softly
You’re gonna be okay


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