When There Are No Words

As a writer, I don’t want to ever believe there are no words to write. Sometimes I stumble over what to say, but all-in-all words are very important to me.

However, as I watch my granddaughter grow, I find that I’m reveling in the moments of touch.  My absolute favorite times with her have been when she lays her head on my shoulder and falls asleep on me.  I could hold her like that for days!

I also love that when she wants to show me something or we need to walk together, she reaches up and grabs my hand. There’s just something so magical walking with her while feeling her hand grasping my fingers.

Here she is with her daddy.

I remember sitting in the movie theatre during my first date with my husband at age 17. (Yes, we were high school sweethearts).  He reached over and took my hand during the movie. My heart beat faster and my breath hitched….all the feelings of young love. I didn’t want him to let go. To this day, I still love holding hands with him.  It brings back those giddy feelings of falling in love.

There are not enough words for these feelings with my granddaughter or husband. I believe touch is powerful — as powerful as words.

When I was 20-years-old, and very foolish, I was in a motorcycle accident. I had a compound fracture of my femur, and they had to take me to surgery right away to stabilize my leg. They couldn’t put me under anesthesia, so they gave me a spinal block that numbed me from the waist down. I was awake for the surgery, as the doctors set my leg into traction until further surgeries (four total) could be performed.

During surgery, the shock of the accident wore off, and I realized what was happening. I started shaking, my shoulders convulsing. I was scared!

The anesthesiologist then did the most simple yet perfect thing. He laid his hands on my head to calm me down.  Just hands on my head. And guess what? That touch was the most comforting and calming touch I’ve ever felt. It settled me down and obviously, made a lasting impact on me.

There are many times when words fail us. It’s so hard to say the right things when someone is dealing with grief, or a tough medical diagnosis, or even when having a bad day. Sometimes the best thing you can do is sit beside them, hold their hand, or give them a hug. That gesture, that touch, can mean more than words can say.

 

 

Being There

As I write this, the world is talking about the shocking passing of Robin Williams. As the TV talking heads are going through his television and movie credits, I realize how many of his movies I’ve seen… and loved.  It is incredibly sad to lose such a great talent.

But through all of this discussion, this man who is being heralded as a comic legend, who entertained millions, has suddenly become very human.  Yes, we tend to put celebrities on a pedestal, forgetting that along with their immense talent, they are human beings, going through this life of ups and downs, marriage, children and everything else.

Obviously, Robin Williams was battling more.  He was always open about substance abuse, but did many of us realize he struggled with depression?  Severe depression.

It’s almost inconceivable that someone who was so loved and admired was in such a dark and lonely place where he was driven to take his own life.  He brought such laughter to everyone else, but couldn’t find the joy for himself. It’s tragic.

I’m almost embarrassed with my last post, when I talk about “wallowing” in my own sadness of recent events in my life.  Thankfully, I haven’t been to the darkest place where I’ve thought of a “permanent solution to a temporary problem.”  I always knew I’d pull out of this and things would get better.

But I didn’t share with many how sad I was feeling.  I don’t always share, because I don’t want to burden others, I don’t want to come across as a whiner, and I don’t want to be considered a negative person.

Was that mindset preventing me from getting the support and encouragement I needed at the time?  How do you balance reaching out without being a whiner?  How do you invite people in without pushing them away?

Hopefully, more discussion will come from this awful passing of Robin Williams about depression, about how to help others.  One thing I heard this morning was just be there. You may not be able to solve the problem, but you can come along beside someone and just remind them that they mean something to you, that their life has value.

Maybe this is a reminder to all of us to hug your family and friends and say “I love you.”  I hate that we have to be reminded, and that we’re usually reminded when someone else has died. We need make this part of our daily lives.

Life is short.  Reach out to someone.  Touch base.  Just be with someone today and hold their hand, give them a hug…. heck, just smile at someone and wish them a wonderful day.

What a difference we could make if we all did that every day.

Being Vulnerable — It Can Be a Good Thing

Our church just had a ladies retreat weekend. I wasn’t able to go, however, two of the ladies in my life group reported on the retreat.  Sounds like I missed a good one.

The theme was about being vulnerable.  When we’re vulnerable and open to others, we also learn we’re not alone.  We find fellowship, support and encouragement with one another.

Now, this is something that I understand, but I still struggle with.  I’m not always open when I have needs. I’m not one to always request prayers.  I’ll share the joys, but don’t always share the stuff with which I’m really struggling.

This isn’t because my friends won’t be there for me.  I know they would be in a heartbeat!  The few times I have opened up when I’ve needed prayer and support, they’ve been there.

I think my issue is that I don’t want to come across whiny or negative.  Do you have people in your life that when you see their name come up on your caller ID, you almost dread talking with them. It’s going to be something negative — because that’s just their personality.  Then sometimes you end up ducking their calls.

I don’t want to be that person, the one who is avoided.  Generally, I’m a very positive person and try to look at the bright side of life (to use a cliche).  But I’m also sensitive.  It’s hard to be open and vulnerable, because you don’t want to get stomped on either.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman at the gym, who truly was trying to be encouraging, said something about me needing cuter workout clothes.  What was something that was meant to encourage me in my workouts, only hit a sensitive spot of my weight.  Now I’ve lost 75 pounds, and I feel good.  And I definitely don’t go to the gym to impress anybody else.  But for some reason, her words just hit a mark.  Stupid, huh?

But things like that shouldn’t prevent from opening up to my friends, to those who care about me.  When we open up, we learn that we’re not alone in this life and that others are going through the same things we are.  We really can share together and learn from our various experiences.

One thing to remember though, is that why you’re asking for prayer from someone and sharing your story, take the time to listen to them and let them share with you.  Let’s be there for each other.

Being vulnerable isn’t one-sided.

What are your thoughts on being vulnerable?  Opening up or trusting another? Is it easy or difficult for you to do?

 

Reaching Out

Last week, I talked about “Digging deeper” with friendships. That seemed to be something that at least a few of us can relate to.

Well, over the weekend, I did some reaching out of my own. I am a proud member of American Christian Fiction Writers (www.acfw.com) and in the spirit of full-disclosure, I also work for them. I work for ACFW because I love the organization. I’d still be a member even without being employed by them.

I like ACFW because it is an organization that encourages and supports writers. We cheer each other on and we want to see all of us succeed in publishing the stories God’s given us to write. We all have stories to tell and we all want to succeed. Instead of fostering a spirit of competitiveness, ACFW fosters a spirit of support and of “we’re all in this together.”

With that in mind, I reached out via Facebook and on the ACFW loop for help in naming my blog and for help in “liking” my author page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/rebeccalvincent, in case you’re interested). And without hesitation, without question, the “likes” drastically increased, and name suggestions for this blog increased as well.

I tried to take the time to thank everyone individually for “liking” my page. Hope I didn’t miss anyone, because I truly appreciated it and was touched that they would do this.

Any one in the writing business, knows it’s tough to develop an author “platform” and create that place where readers can find you. It’s all about making those connections. It’s a bit daunting, because writers would rather write, and not promote.

However, a comment from one of my writing friends brought me to tears. When I thanked her for the “like”, she responded: “Of course! You’re always so helpful to everyone else, time we helped you! Blessings and Joy.”

That statement alone epitomizes how I feel about ACFW, and my other favorite writing group My Book Therapy (www.mybooktherapy.com). It’s all about helping each other and supporting each other.

How would our lives be if we did this in the world around us? If we fostered a spirit of encouragement and support?

I can only hope and pray my writing, and more importantly, my friendship and relationships with others, will be a blessing to them. But today is a day when I feel overwhelmed with blessings.

So, what would happen if you took a chance and reached out? If you confided in a friend this week about an issue you were having? Do you think there would be an opportunity to bless each other?

Take a chance and let me know. This is a place where we can share. How can we take that first step together and reach out?

(Image courtesy of twobee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)