It wasn't just one moment of crisis that woke me up to my need for other people, and particularly, this program. Nor was it the three months I lost to mental health institutions.
It took a few more rude awakenings.
When things go well, I still revert to that illusion that I am independent. In reality, any passing storm can set me back. Each one reminds me that I need people. Neighbors.
The Blessed One was once asked, "Who is my neighbor?" Well, I can tell you my neighbor is not just the person living next to me today; I have great neighbors still in my old home town.
Some of you who rarely post, write me privately to show that you are a neighbor. And I may hear from you just once in my lifetime. But that is enough.
Remember the Good Samaritan? Many of you, who never write, are my neighbors too. You don't need to look like me, or think like me, and you may disagree with me on many points.
Yet, when I am emotionally vulnerable, you take time to read, care and occasionally to write when I, and others, are hurting. You care enough to tell me when I put your experience into words.
You are a neighbor who may not live in my community, or country. We are in this together, though we may never meet.
When I share my setbacks, large or small, you may not say a word in this day, or this week, but you may be someone else's neighbor because of something I share here.
But look at times when a setback has reminded you to ask for and receive help. Someone you may have regarded with suspicion may extended a hand, when you had a set back in your life, and relied on them. Everyone we meet is a neighbor on whom we may depend.
"By asking for and receiving help in a time of setback, we learn that help is available when we need it, and this fact sends us out into the world with greater confidence."
It is true: We are [never] alone. It is also true that for many of us trusting may not come easy. If I have experienced emotional wounding, it is natural for me to be afraid this may happen again.
I like the idea of having a crisis card, with names and numbers of people I can call, that are trustworthy. OK, I wish more of them were in my hometown, but HP willing that will happen in time. I've been here less than eleven months. In the meantime, my crisis card has people in my old hometown, the Northeast, the Rockies and New Mexico.
Asking for help builds the bridges of friendship. Several long ago crises made Maia a spiritual neighbor when we were thousands of miles apart. Sharing our crises made us lifelong friends. I can remember exactly where I was sitting when she first told me that my weakness was a gift, to her: "A friend in need, is a friend indeed."
Through Maia, I learned how much is gained by losing my way. When I was lost, she helped me find my way... out of a bad relationship, baby-stepping after my long hospital stay, and making a big move not long after our son's birth 14 years ago.
So many spaces have been cleared in my life, the practice of letting strangers be my spiritual neighbors is one that I can relax into again. I guess I need to fall in love with the practice of letting others help me find my way in my new community now, too.
Let my grieving open my heart to others so that I might even befriend the cleared land down the street from me now. Is it too big of a leap to hope that in being a neighbor, I can ask for the opportunity to heal, by planting new young trees, in the clearing they have created by their bulldozers?
Perhaps. Help me, HP, to be befriend this new clearing, unbidden as it is.