Walking With Another
My daughter, Selah, is 14 months old. She's doing this thing where she will only walk as long as she can hold hands with someone. She mostly wants a supportive place to grip and someone to walk with her where she wants to go. Yesterday, I was explaining to Theo, my three-year-old, that in order to walk with Selah we couldn't jerk her around, we needed to be a stable, supportive presence. It occurred to me, this is true of walking with anyone.
While we all have our moments where we can tend towards insecurity and instability, the people who have walked with me the best are the ones who have been able to be sensitive and supportive of me where I am, all the while knowing I am capable beyond what may be expressed at the moment. There isn't judgment, there is understanding. There isn't the projection of their will or agenda, there is patience with me. Then again, I see how much I can be like Theo.
Sometimes I want to be helpful, but I want to be helpful to others on my terms. I want to love others the way I receive love, unconsciously ignoring how they may be needing it at the moment. My own whims, fancies, and flightiness can be destabilizing for others, no matter how good my intentions. I think of times I have reacted to the other instead of creating space for them to be how they are, it usually creates and perpetuates unnecessary reactions instead of getting to the heart of whatever is going on.
It's my intention and commitment to be the love and stability I need for myself and for others. I can see when my inner three-year-old needs some grace and when my inner 14-month-old needs support. All the while, we can relax into being the people that trust others to hold our hand and learn to hold the hands of others in ways that are truly helpful to them.
We can walk with another, it just might take some grace, patience, and practice.