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a beautiful tapestry

a beautiful tapestry - blog post by andrea hurley

by Andrea
September 14, 2014

Imagine coming together with others to explore and share experiences that are very close to your heart, experiences that you may feel very alone in or even at times trapped by. Experiences that, out of necessity, you may have had to push aside, possibly even forgotten... Imagine listening to the stories of others, listening so deeply and respectfully that something new starts to wake up inside of you. Imagine your own buried experiences coming out of the shadows, and the veil of your protected inner world falling away. 

I don’t know of a better way to begin to share with you my experience of coming together with a small group of women this past week, a group who responded to an invitation about our monthly caregiver’s circle

In the days and weeks prior to this small gathering, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that I have been longing to expand the inquiry of our blogs beyond the written word, and into a field of conversation with others. I have watched a little seedling sprout and grow over these past 2 years of reflecting, writing and sharing simple human experiences—and have felt deeply touched by the lives and stories of others. There is something in the heart of the caregiver that is undefined and mysterious, but holds a strength that all too often falls into the shadows. It is an inner strength I feel the world needs more of.

We started slowly, respectfully, and after a few minutes of silence one of us after another spoke. From stories that had us all in stitches of laughter to stories so real and raw that it was hard to speak or to move or to know what to say. I felt I had to stretch inside to hold it all. In a setting like this, there is no way you can prepare yourself to hear the stories of others. You can’t prepare how you will respond, or how you will be changed. When you let in the human struggle, from the deeply tender stories of caring for a loved one to the unspeakable sadness of loss, it feels like something shatters inside of you. You feel your heart break open wide, with new eyes to see the quiet inner strength, courage and wisdom that lies deep within our humanity.

There is also an aloneness. In truth, we are each alone on this life journey. We are alone and we are also alone together. When alone and together intersect, a tapestry is woven. Each strand, unique and essential, is woven through listening and generosity of heart. Imagine discovering this tapestry in your own back yard, closer at hand than you may realize, and that all it takes is opening our stories in a heartfelt way, listening respectfully and allowing those stories to blend into a new pattern. But most importantly, imagine that this kind of mutual respect may also be an unexpected resevoir of quiet strength, perspective and humor as we carry on with our caring and giving. Imagine this strength, the well of which has no bottom so long as we are there for each other.  

Join Judy and Andrea in a monthly conversation about this and other elderly care issues. Click here to learn more


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