My second conversation from my off day (if you missed the first, please check out last post it was amazing) occurred between my coworker Kelly and myself. Kelly was sharing how hard she works at sharing the journey and struggles of her sobriety with those who need it most. This can often be a very difficult path. When someone is dealing with the demons of addiction, it can be difficult to both admit and face. Those who have been through it themselves know that better than anyone. They know both the pain and fight that occurs every day, as well as the joy, health, and positive things that come out on the other side of fighting addiction.
When you offer someone a warning that their life is headed down the wrong path, even if done with great love, concern and tact, that person will often get defensive and the situation can turn downright ugly. This is not only true for addiction, but those in abusive relationships, those with self-destructive behaviors and a host of other issues that can ruin lives. When you are faced with a choice to say something and risk losing that relationship, or saying nothing and, by default, enabling their behavior, which of those you choose is up to you. My thinking is this. Kelly was being told by others not to mention anything. Even being asked, “How many lives have you actually changed by saying something?” Here is my thought on that. Which of these situations would you rather find yourself in? You say nothing, keep this person ‘happy’ and they end up in jail, or even dead. The second case is you tell them the hard truth, offer them not only tough love, but support, and they never speak to you and still end up self-destructing. Personally, I would want to know I did all I could.
I love this quote from one of my favorite poets. It reminds me of the second part of the conversation between Kelly and I. Understandably, she was really thinking about what she was told about how, despite all of her passionate and caring efforts, it seemed that it was having little results. I shared a story with her. Quite often, as a writer committed to helping people see the beauty and importance of their lives, I feel like I am falling short. Days, weeks and even months can go by without even a comment on some of the information and thoughts I share. My mission to leave the world a better place than I found it, can seem daunting at best. If I mistakenly turn on the news and see all of the hate and violence, it can feel like I am bringing a teaspoon of water to fight a house fire. Which is why I encourage everyone else to bring their teaspoon as well. The more people I reach and inspire, the more the world can positively transform.
While I am wrapped up in my own self-pity, feeling like I am yelling my encouragement and inspiration into an empty canyon, enter my lovely Margie. She reminds me of the time two people came up to me and told me that they were ready to end their lives and something that I wrote caused them not to give up hope. I can’t even relay that story without getting emotional as both Margie and Kelly can tell you. If, through the course of my journey, I never have anymore engagement from this blog or my books and podcast, those two people have made this journey a success. Funny thing is, I was not close with either one of this people. I planted a seed of hope and encouragement and it blossomed for them at just the right time.
I want to remind all of us that the good and love we put out into the world is like that. Whether that is Kelly’s effort to help those struggling with addiction, my efforts to bring a little light to what can often be a dark world, or you and the good you are looking to bring into the world. Remember we are planting seeds. It may seem as if all of our seeds are landing on soil that is not fertile, but some just take longer to blossom, just as some plants take longer to sprout. Many of our seeds may land on concrete and never grow into anything. How do we solve that? Here is my solution. If you want the same amount of crops, and half the seeds won’t grow, what do you do? You plant twice as much. You might want to read those last lines again. Plant as many seeds of kindness and love as you can. You might not be around when they grow into something beautiful, but wouldn’t be a shame if you never planted them at all?