No one chooses to have a black cloud come overhead. We are drawn to the light and to those people who seem to be surrounded by warmth. But bad weather hits us all sometimes. Without warning a storm can enter your life and leave you seeking shelter. That shelter can be any number of things, a need to make a change in your life, a resolution to a conflict or sometimes just a kind word.
I am lucky in that I seem able to move through life with very little bad weather crashing into me and when it does hit I’ve generally been able to deal with it on my own but not every time. When I received some sad news recently of the tragic early death of a very kind and gentle man who I had previously worked closely with at the newspaper I felt grief, anxiety, loss, and a slide into a dark funk. The blackness seemed to envelope me and I struggled to find my way back.
With my equilibrium off kilter I found it hard to bring out the good nature that I know lives in me. I was looking for shelter but didn’t know it. I made a comment on facebook, that source of social connectivity largely dedicated to the good times, and I had several comments made back to me that resonated within. Those words of concern and support came generously from people who didn’t know what was causing my downbeat post but recognized a need and reached out. A kind word, an unconditional declaration of support, an electronic hug, and shelter from the storm was offered to me. My metaphor about feeling apart from the team was turned around for me with positivity and notices of support that told me that I did in fact have ‘team mates’.
A note that it was okay for me to step back from leading and allow others to help was warmly received; it was generously presented to me that if I leaned someone would support me. I thank Daryn for that. I thank Amy for a hug that came from such a compassionate place at a perfect time.
Life is short but we do have the chance every day to help someone. It could be as simple as holding a door open, stopping at a crosswalk instead of racing through it, giving a compliment without expecting one in return, or offering a kind word.
I’ve enjoyed the support of friends and have been reminded what it can do for you. Now I want to make sure that I’m ready to extend that hand but more importantly, to be sensitive to those around me and recognize when that kind word is needed.