Do you have some lessons in your life that you have to learn over and over?
I find myself, at times, coming back to familiar themes in my life. It's not like I forget, I just don't use what I know to be true or maybe I hope it's not true this time.
Here is one I'm tired of relearning - I can't fix someone else's problems.
The thing is I don't want this to be true. I want to be able to fix hurting people. I want to relieve their pain and rescue them from their troubles... and I want to be a beloved hero.
I recently felt God telling me that this is not my job. My mission is to love broken people, not to rescue them. It sounded good at first. I could walk beside people in pain and comfort them. At the time I had just finished a great week at school. Classes were going well and I had the opportunity to talk to and encourage a student with severe anxiety. We held a meeting and discussed coping strategies. I felt important and successful. Then the next week came and things fell apart. There was a shouting match in my classroom and another student had a panic attack. I guess I blamed myself. If I was a better teacher these things would not have happened. I couldn't protect my wounded students from life. I couldn't keep them safe.
So basically I fell into the negative thought patterns of attaching my sense of value to my accomplishments as well as thinking I could fix the world. I can make suggestions and point people to resources, but I can't make their choices for them. I can't wrap them in a bubble and keep them safe. I still wish I could.
Last year our school was gifted with some landscaping. One of the small trees planted was delicate and beautiful with a braided trunk. I loved that tree. It made me smile every morning. The janitor watered all the new plants faithfully, but some of them did not make it. The pretty tree withered and eventually died. Sometimes, no matter what you do you lose one. This is a hard truth for me to accept.
If my new delicate flowers don't make it, I will mourn for them. They are amazing people and I want them to be successful. However, it's not my job to fix their lives. They are strong and resilient. I will give them love and kindness and tools to use and I will cheer for them when they overcome their own adversities and create the beautiful lives I know they are capable of.