As I came around the corner of the living room into the small kitchen, there he sat struggling to get up quickly to greet us. He was scruffy faced and looking a bit older than the last time I saw him but he was smiling and ready for a good long hug, something in the past neither of us were comfortable with.
This is my brother who a few weeks ago went through open heart surgery. He had lots of work done with his heart so that we can be assured that he will be with us for a great while longer.
This opening up of ones heart physically also seems to open ones heart emotionally. He has always been a gentle soul who keeps that side of himself quiet. Now it seems to be much harder for him to do. A long talk about health, family, our past and our family habit of not sharing emotions brought out lots of emotions for all of us. There were many tears, laughs and sighs. All of our hearts seem to be on open display these days.
It is a rough way to open us up but it is one of the silver linings of major health issues. When life turns upside down it makes us stop and look around. It is a time when we turn to those practices that help ground us. We all seek support in many ways. For some it is through their church or religion. Others through nature, community or some combination of things.
I find myself needing to walk through groves of trees or put my hands in the soil searching for new plants. I am spending time on my yoga mat and quiet moments with friends and a cup of tea. A quick call or a text message just to connect also helps (I must say technology is a wonderful thing when family lives hundreds of miles away. I can’t just drive over every day and check on him.)
It is times like this that we see what we are made of, how we handle stressors, where we find our support, and the connections that are most important in life. So many things that seemed important a few months ago now really don’t matter. What matters are the people around us – connecting with friends, neighbors, work colleagues and family – especially family.
So don’t wait for a major health issue – just take time to make that phone call or stop and chat when the neighbor is out in their yard, or take time for that cup of coffee or tea or a walk with a friend you have not seen for awhile.
It makes a difference.