“Truth cannot be borrowed. It can only be experienced.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the hardest things to endure is watching a loved one suffer and being unable to teach them the life lessons we’ve learned.
We’ve all been there, and we all end up pulling our hair out in utter frustration when our best efforts fall flat. If only that exasperating spouse, friend, child or whomever would just cooperate. In Brandt’s case, the loved one is his sister.
“Her list of bad choices keeps growing,” he said. “She’s adrift—led by her whims and desires. She dropped out of college but assured us all that she’ll try again later. I wish I could believe her.” Click here to read Brandt’s full story.
Situations like Brandt’s—that are beyond our control—humble us. Not only are we faced with the truth of our powerlessness, but with the understanding that life itself is the teacher. Knowing that fact, however, doesn’t make it any easier to endure. We’re left with a form of grief that we resist absorbing.
It takes courage to let go, and it takes courage to feel the grief that follows. It’s far easier to fight, push or get angry.
It also takes courage to keep our heart intact and resist pulling away in judgment. Though, in some cases we have to pull away because remaining connected would prove detrimental psychologically or physically.
But that’s not true of Brandt and his sister. He can and should continue to be closely connected as a caring and supportive presence in her life. And it’s from that space, ironically, that he can influence the most. I remember asking him: “Just where do you think Kylie would be without you as her foundation and anchor?”
Yes, we can advise, and even shout warnings when it seems appropriate, but the other person is ultimately the one in charge of the path they choose.
Only through our own mistakes and heartache do we develop the muscle and the insight to direct our lives wisely. Another person cannot give that to us.
However, they can stand beside us with understanding acceptance. That’s powerful!
Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.