Walking each other home. What might that mean?
Where is home?
It has been my experience that I haven’t been able to find it myself. For I am only myself when I am deeply connecting with another in my heart.
And to connect in this way requires compassion.
This means learning to be compassionate with myself when I feel alienated and frightened, for in these times I have lost the way, and I need help.
When we feel fear it’s so easy to turn on someone else rather than turning toward them.
We can make others the target of our fear, further isolating ourselves, mostly because we feel shame and embarrassment and don’t want to admit we need help.
Our addiction to competency often prevents us from asking for help and finding others to share our suffering with. Not to pour it out on them, but just opening our hearts in vulnerability.
It is compassion that really brings us together.
Passion derives from a root word meaning to endure; to suffer.
And the truth is we won’t find our way back home without admitting that we all suffer.
Dr. Karen Armstrong, a widely recognized scholar and author, has created a Charter for Compassion in our world. In a recent lecture she explained how compassion can only come about by being with each other in our common suffering.
Dr. Armstrong stated that each of us is an amazing mystery, and how much we need to deeply listen to one another so that we can be in this profound mystery together.
I learned through experience many years ago that I could only find solace and comfort when I became vulnerable and opened my heart to another trusted soul.
It was in these moments that I felt I was back home.
Someone had touched me where I was really hurting. It was a touch of love, not the sharp stick of unkindness.
An amazing thing happens when we listen deeply to each other. The suffering is lessened and the happiness is doubled!
When one other person really hears us, without shaming us, we feel validated. We feel recognized as a human being who is truly seeking a fulfilling life.
Home is where we are accepted, with all our flaws.
As I go through my day I do my best to be aware of whether my thoughts are going to help. Or do they have a punishing feel to them?
I look for my underlying motive, and try to rethink, so my action will do no harm.
It is the grace of God that I really seek, for I can’t do it alone.
So, my daily prayer goes something like this:
What is mine to do, God? Help me to really see what my thoughts are. Help me to wean myself away from my addiction to my private hates, and from my wanting to look competent.
Help me to be a place of love, to remain vulnerable, for this is my home.
Thank you God for bringing me the people and situations that will bring me back home today.
Thank you, God for grace, for loving me when I feel most unworthy of this love.
Thank you, God, for giving me other people to love and to connect with, to listen to and to be with; for we all have our hurts and our joys, and we all need help.
If you find this practice helpful in any way, feel free to join me.
Together we can find our way back home.