Within the last three weeks I have had two friends suffer tragic losses. My good friend of nearly two decades (whom I’ve only met face-to-face once) had his wife transition suddenly just as they were planning their retirement and their golden years. Another friend that I’ve known less time has a son who suddenly transitioned at just 27 years of age. As a Shining Light Parent and someone who has taken on the role of helping people through these things, these things can be overwhelming. In the past several days I’ve been focused on helping these two friends with this early, devastating part of the grief journey.
My belief is that Shining Light Parents, parents whose children have gone on before us, are people who have planned these roles and we plan them for the greater good of all. It’s a tough assignment. We can easily become overwhelmed. Just a few days ago, one of the people in one of my groups said she couldn’t take all of the sadness anymore, said she’d be praying for us, and basically seemed to be checking out of life. We all jumped into action taking this as the announcement of a suicide. We found loved ones, contacted the police, etc. Gratefully, she came back and said that we had misunderstood. She wasn’t leaving her body, she was just leaving the group. All of the posts about all of the grief were overwhelming her. Dealing with her grief and seeing all of the sadness around her was too much. She had to pull away.
As light workers, we have to guard against burning out. We cannot take on all of the burdens of the world. Even Jesus, my role model, took time away. He would sneak off to pray, meditate, fast, whatever. I have left groups that do nothing but suck my energy. There is nothing I can do to help there. To even try would be to tear myself down. For me to continue to help others, I have to first of al take care of myself. As much as I want to help everyone there are times that I have to scroll past a post without making a comment, without trying to help. And, that’s OK, because I’m not alone in this work. When I scroll past that post, someone else will jump in.
There is a story I love about a boy who comes upon a beach where thousands of starfish are stranded. One by one, he begins picking them up and placing them back in the ocean. Someone, older and wiser presumably, approaches the boy and tells him that he’s wasting his time. He can’t make a difference. He can’t possibly save all of the starfish. The boy looks up into the man’s eyes and says “I can’t make a difference for all of them, but I can make a difference for this one.” This is a reminder to me to not be overwhelmed by the big picture and to focus on what I can do to never walk away from a big problem because I can’t solve the whole thing. Further than that, what I like to picture is not the boy alone on the beach, but hundreds or thousands coming up alongside the boy, each helping one starfish at a time. In this way, no one is overwhelmed and no one is left alone. Many light workers’ hands make light work.