Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Space to Walk

On a snowy day, I was walking to my apartment building. It was 25 degrees so I was in a hurry to get inside, but a man and what I assumed were his sons caught my eye. The father and oldest son walked on the shoveled sidewalk. Their path was easy and clear. The youngest son, while going in the same direction, took a different path at his own pace. This little guy choose to walk in the grass. He had to step up higher to get through so he was slightly behind. He ran at times as he kicked through the fluffy snow. It was as if there was no other place he would rather be than on his whimsical walk.

I have this incessant desire to be supportive. If those I love need a word of encouragement or a shoulder to cry on, I want to be "Johnny on the spot." At times, that's appropriate. There are other times, though, when people need space to sift through their feelings. They need to process and listen inwardly in order to develop. At those moments, as much as I want to be right there, I have to love them enough to let them walk in their own space. I have to put my needs—and really, my insecurities and fears—aside and allow them to walk on their own even when I would prefer to walk with them.

We walk through life with others, but even when we're together emotionally, we're not always supposed to be directly side-by-side. We have to give those we love the space to walk. It can be difficult because we fear separation or we want to provide up close and personal support. However, just as the father gave his little boy the joy of walking through the snow, we can give our loved ones the satisfaction of self-reliance just by providing a little bit of space.

Read last week's post, The Spirituality of Natural Gifts.

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