No one is sent to anyone by accident.” -A Course in Miracles
Gabrielle Bernstein (of Spirit Junkie) writes of how “relationships are assignments”: every person who comes into your life is there to teach you something, and you are there to teach them, too.
I think relationships are sometimes like assignments in a class you didn’t enroll in, at a school you didn’t choose, in a language you don’t speak, where the other kids throw spit-wads in your direction, and the professor has a vendetta against you.
Whether the assignment is forgiveness, protecting your heart, setting boundaries or something else–the work is hard. Nearly impossible. You want to quit but can’t. (Or maybe quitting the relationship IS the lesson, and you can’t figure out how to do that, either.)
But whatever the assignment, however difficult: show up.
Show up for yourself.
Show up so you can learn.
Show up so you can do the hard things: learn the language, adjust the school, figure out how to hang in there or how to quit.
Showing up is the only way to grow. Showing up is the only way to know you can conquer the hard things.
Showing up is how you learn to live your brave.
And when you have showed up for yourself, show up for the next new person in the class–the one who looks bewildered and scared on their first day–and say, “Let me help”. And help.
Give her the notes you so painstakingly translated. Sit next to him when no one else will. Ask her to eat lunch with you, and explain the lessons you nearly gave up on. Explain how to quit or not quit, how to walk away or stay, how to protect your heart.
Turn your trauma into a tutor.
This is the alchemy of kindness: taking life’s hardest relationships and changing them into an ear that listens, a hand that holds, a hug that comforts.
Showing up is the stuff life is made of.
No matter how difficult, no matter how much the person breaks your heart in pieces, leaving you wondering how you will ever put it back together again– show up for the lesson.
Show up. Learn. Teach. Repeat.
Reba Riley is the author of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome: One Woman’s Desperate, Funny, Healing Journey To Explore 30 Religions By Her 30th Birthday, the 2016 memoir Elizabeth Gilbert calls: “Hilarious, courageous, provocative, profound…Reba Riley brings the light for seekers of all paths. If Eat Pray Love had a gutsy, wise, funny little sister, it would be Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome.” She is a motivational speaker, blogger, and television contributor. You can find her online on Facebook Instagram Twitter