Friday, May 29, 2009

Who Do You Count On?



For Memorial Day I wrote a prayer honoring our Spiritual Warriors, and as I wrote I realized that people who embody the energy of the spiritual warrior (and any of us can) are people I have been able to count on in my life.

Just days before I wrote this prayer, a life coach and friend mentioned an exercise in which she and others were asked to name five people that would be there for each of them in a moment’s notice. While some of them furtively wrote names down, others struggled to even think of five people.

How do you create relationships with others in such a way that you know you could count on them to be there for you?

This has been on my mind a lot lately, and was punctuated by an experience with my daughter. Those of you who know me well, know that many years ago I adopted as a daughter of my heart a young woman whose mother has struggled to stay mentally balanced. As a result of her mother’s fight just to take care of herself, my adopted daughter had frequently been emotionally and physically abandoned by her birth mother.

Because I felt such a strong bond with this young woman, I made the commitment to accept her as my own. I honor and respect her birth mother, while knowing that every young woman deserves one or more mother figures in her life in order to most fully open to her own powerful womanhood. And I was willing to be a much-needed mother, fulfilling her need to be mothered and mine to be a mother.

A few months ago, my daughter sent her daughter (our granddaughter) out to visit Mama Misa and Papa J. She explained to me later that she put our granddaughter on the plane with these words. “I want you to get to know your grandma. Out of all the people in the world, she is the one person who has always been there for me ever since I met her, and she will be there for you.”

When I heard that, I cried. My childhood was challenging, but it doesn’t even begin to compare with the challenges my daughter has faced. She needed someone when I met her at her formative age of 15. I had been helped by so many beautiful men and women in my life that…well…how could I not be there for her when she was in much greater need? Simply—my heart was open to her and so I was there for her.

What my life has shown me is that you create relationships in which others will be there for you by being there for others. You go out of your way sometimes. You are inconvenienced sometimes. But you do it because your heart is open and you are fulfilled in the act of being there for someone else.

People who can be counted on are Spiritual Warriors. They show up when everyone else might go away. They are the people who respond to disasters and emergencies, help friends or family who are seriously sick, take disabled friends shopping, care for the homeless, or offer respite and support to kids in orphanages. They come early to help. They stay to clean up. Spiritual Warriors find solutions to persistent problems. They are the ones who show up even when it is inconvenient.

They are courageous simply because the price of not acting with courage is too high. They give to others from the richness of their lives, and sometimes they even give up their lives for the welfare of others.

My daughter is a Spiritual Warrior and so is my granddaughter. Am I? You bet. I can count dozens of people who can and do count on me. I have learned to be counted on without being co-dependent and it feels great. Can I count on others in return? Oh yes. I have many friends and family who have been there for me. Every one of them is a blessing.

So, if you are longing to have people in your life that you can count on, consider exploring this question first. Who counts on you?

Prayer for a Spiritual Warrior