(This is part of an ongoing series of highlights from past Listen to Life newsletters. Many readers and subscribers were not following when this came out. Enjoy.)
No talk of new year’s resolutions here. Sometimes New Year’s Day is merely the first day of a new year, nothing more and nothing less. Which is a good thing. It is nice to reflect on what has happened, and good to look forward to what awaits, but there is little we can do about the past and almost as little that we can assure about the future, except that we’re headed into it, God willing.
How we get through the next 24 hours, 30 days, 12 months or next decade can be acts of simple survival or complicated strategies mapped from the process of charting personal matrices ad nauseum. A friend related a story of her youth that holds a simpler, more profound message that cuts through just about every self-help book on the shelf, and touches the heart of truth.
As a young girl, she and her mother were going shopping as mothers and daughters are wont to do. Mom, not wanting to lose her child in the store, particularly because this independent-at-four daughter clearly exhibited much self-direction, said, “Hold my hand” as they got the cart ready for shopping.
“No. I’ll hold my own hand,” the child replied matter-of-factly, and then clasped her own hands together and said “Let’s go.” She kept her hands together while she stayed close to her mom for the duration of the trip.
As we look into our futures, whether that is making it from breakfast to lunch, or from now until retirement, or whatever time frame becomes the measure, let’s not look to everyone else to be the guide. A simple thank you to the motivational speakers, the well-meaning friends, the loving partners, the supportive children, the attentive therapist or the unmet authors is sufficient; at the end of the day, all you have to get you through is you. As others reach out within their capabilities to help, the only hand that you can count on, day in and day out, is yours.
Others seek out your hands for support, touch, healing, and creation. If all of them can count on your hands, why can’t you? We all need others, and our lives are richer in contact, communication and communion with other people. But sometimes, on our journeys and treks, we need to pass on the offer to hold hands, and grasp our own tightly with surety and confidence: “I’ll hold my own hand, thank you.”