Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A friend in need

Which do you think is more helpful: a friend who takes your side when you’re in the middle of something, or a friend who helps you to see the other side?

I find that I need both. My very best friend since high school and I have the first kind of relationship. She’s seen me go through a lot, and whenever I need help, she’s 100% on my side. She understands my point of view and validates me. I find this very very comforting when in crisis, because it actually helps me to let go of my own angry feelings. Having someone understand rather than argue with me allows me to see the other side myself. In fact, sometimes after talking with her, I begin to defend the other side! Because feeling understood helps me be understanding.

So that works best for me when I’m in crisis. It doesn’t work so well to have someone at that point try to talk me out of my feelings. When the person I’ve called for help advocates immediately for the other side, I feel judged.

However, after I’ve calmed down, when my suffering eases, it’s of course essential to have the intelligent analysis of someone who cares about me to encourage me to widen my perspective. And sometimes I need that encouragement to get myself out of myself. Having my angry or hurt feelings be *too* validated by someone else can keep me mired in them. The only way to get past it is to let it go, which I can’t do if I stay too connected. So I recognize the constructive nature of honest attempts to help me see the other side. Just not when I’m wildly upset.

So what does this mean spiritually?

I’m reminded of Mary Baker Eddy’s counsel:

The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love.

--Science and Health

I try to do this in my practice. When someone calls me, I do my best to lead with Love. So many people out there praying desperately are convinced there’s something wrong with them, that they’re doing something wrong, that they’re being punished. I would give anything for each one to know how much God loves them and is on their side. Sometimes the words come to me to say, “There’s nothing wrong with you.” And often this is like a balm on deep wounds of self-condemnation. Only when that is eased can we begin to discuss the next spiritual step to be taken.

God is the friend in need. God understands, He knows your heart of hearts, and why you made the choices you did. Divine Love gives you full credit for doing your best given whatever circumstances you were facing. And then, when the dust settles, Love is there to uplift your perspective, to raise your eyes to the next promise on the horizon.


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2 Comments:

At 2/22/2006 11:20:00 AM, Anonymous ObiDon said...

Very good proceeding from personal experience to the helpful broader view.

 
At 2/22/2006 03:47:00 PM, Anonymous Veronika said...

Yes, sometimes when I feel troubled I suddenly remember that God is still Love and this brings the needed healing.

 

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