“from the help” @ study, saint louis, foggy day

Parents traditionally delight in their children taking their first steps, demolishing their baby size birthday cakes, dressed up in a costume… a bow… a little baby tux.

As a mother, I know the feeling of delight when I am delighting in my children. I have actively stayed still in present moments to strictly observe whatever they are doing – watching the game they came into on their own, watching their slow waking moments, watching them watching something all on their own.

Matter of fact, this ties into an early intention I set for things like outings to the zoo: let them sit as long as they wish. It doesn’t matter to me how much ground we cover, we can sit in front of the hippos, we can camp out in the birdhouse. Dwell. Delight.

This made for many childhood younger year memories but also, last year, when my 13 year old stepdaughter came to live in St. Louis for 6 weeks in the fall. Prior to the official move, the marriage; David and I let her give it a shot. I took her to the zoo and was mesmerized by how long she could sit, watching… observing. So I, too, sat… watched… observed.

I remember one time I delighted in Ellen; a time so uniquely unconventional for typical delighting that it was formative to my way of parenting. I was sitting on the couch, she was playing on the floor – maybe 2 1/2 or 3 years old. She got up from where she was playing, walked to the end table, grabbed a tissue and wiped her nose.

I cocked my head, squinted and smiled. Did she just get up from playing, aware of a tickle in her nose, know to get a tissue, get one and care for herself? Did she help herself become more comfortable? Surely, she was aware of herself.

Fast forward five years later, she is 7 or 8 and her parents are divorced. I moved out into a small apartment and – though I was experiencing a tremendous amount of relief and freedom in my life – I was naturally processing grief, specifically in relationship to the loss my children took in the break up and the definitions that were shifting for them.

There was one night I went into the bathroom to get ready for bed. It was a peachy-pink tiled bathroom with a big deep tub, stained glass window and warm lighting over a big huge vanity mirror. On the counter was my toothbrush, resting on a fold of toilet paper with toothpaste on it. Next to it was a note, “From the help of Ellen”.

From the help of Ellen.

My heart, to this day, flutters when I think about this – this concept of each of us having a reservoir of help. Bounty of help, reserves of help, to offer ourselves and to offer others in this world; specifically those we are doing life with.

I think about her early demonstration of helping herself with her runny nose. I imagine a tank of help, swirling with awareness, from which she took a small withdrawal and then the experience of being cared for depositing more back in. Likewise, that night, kissing her sleeping soft cheeks – I deposited back into her tank.

I wonder about this concept a lot. That we have help (noun) instead of we help (verb). When we live in a way where giving is the action and the helping, the hoping stop and instead we have help to give, we have hope to give – does this shift the way we feel? Does it impact the way we consider ourselves able?

It’s a foggy grey day today and I have a few things to button up before starting up some work at 1p. I am curious if this thinking feels different to anybody out there. That’s all for now :) namaste…. erin

Send Her All of Her Might

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Lucy and I were praying for a dear friend one night in August. I had led the prayer the night before so, on that particular evening – all tucked in bed, Lucy led us. Hands clasped, eyes open.

As she sweetly tumbled through her prayer, hitting strides of addressing this friend’s pain, she firmly requested, “…and God, please, just send her all of her might.”

This stuck with me.

“Send her all of her might.”

When I think of “might”, strength – power – brute force, I typically associate it with a universal power source. As in, “Lord, send me strength”.

As in that example, I think of it as strength from outside of me, strength that is not my own, strength not readily available to me.

Strength I need.

So, when Lucy revolutionized my understanding of might, it was because she was asking God to make it so that our friend had all of her might. As if she has a bank of might available to her that she can access. It made me think, “what if I, through comfort with the supernatural, through my awareness with the physical body and its ability to be stunningly miraculous, can access reserves of my own might as divinely given to me from birth?”

At the first thought of this maybe being a cute idea but not really practical or not really as elegant of a model for how we may consider petitioning for strength ascribed to a higher power, I thought of how the model looks in real life. I know it is in my personal nature to request the gifts of other people that, in some way or another, I have within myself.

I do not do this in a lazy way or from an insecure place, however. I see that a friend is obviously artistic or a friend is obviously wise and so I solicit their technique and advice. But do I know that I equally can attempt the art? Search the heart? Yes. I do.

(Especially with the right Sharpie style marker.)

Though I firmly believe there is power in believing in a strength bigger than what resides within us, what if we first requested all of our own strength, our birthright might, be present and accounted for before we ask specifically for the Lord’s?

And – before anybody cringes at the idea of doing something on our own and “what about Jesus” – we stopped for a moment and realized that in doing such a thing, we actually are asking for the Lord’s strength *with specific awareness* that our strength and our help comes from the Lord to begin with? (Psalm 121:2)

What if in requesting all of our strength be present, we started to understand that our intricate design as individuals has a power source into the great connected universe? Charged by God’s right hand?

What if, in prayer, we began to understand internal cruxes that block and cross our wires?

What if, in pursuit of our might being full, we learn things about our selves that prevent us from operating on a full tank of strength?

What if we were able to come into a next iteration of what God had in mind for the way we do life by understanding the personal strength that lies in our own emotional fortitude, in our physical temple? 

I mean, really. I believe we need to be careful of praying for God’s strength over and over while remaining unaware of the personally designed, tailor made strength and skill set we were given to not only survive, but to make a difference in this life.

<Deep breath.>

I believe the look of boldly approaching the throne when life is at its hardest changes when we have ensured we have done our part to cultivate the might and open-heartedness available to harness in this physical life.

There will be times we need increased strength to our weary bones and power to our weak spirits. (“Even the youth grow weary” Isaiah 40:30)

When we take the step to align with God’s strength through that which was put into the body to begin with, and – from that place, request the divine to reinforce, supplement and support, I believe we can then come into a new level of hope to soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow tired, and walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Namaste. XO, erin