Mary, my sweet and weary client was about to board her flight, but something caught her attention. She saw a mother and a son saying goodbye to one another, before the son went solo to the boarding agent. He appeared to be 19 or 20 years of age, handsome and weathered, with blond hair and piercing blue eyes. Mary took him in and noticed that his skin was blotchy — only a mother of a user would spot this and wonder his story. Her eyes went back to his Mom who was tearful and appeared worn. Mary left the boarding line and walked over to the woman. They exchanged a few pleasantries, and then the Mom shared that her son was headed to round two of rehab — this time to a 90-day rehab facility in CA. There was an instant connection. A knowing. Without having to say more, they exchanged phone numbers, and the Mom asked Mary to keep an eye on her son to make sure he got to his destination. Mary didn’t hesitate. She was on it.
Mary was true to her word, and she watched out for this gal’s son like he was her own. She even went up to First Class and crouched down in the aisle and spoke to the young man for a while. Mary said he was refreshingly open and self-aware. He shared some of his struggles — his parent’s divorce (he minimized the pain of that, and Mary gently assured him that it was normal to struggle with that, and it was okay), and his hope that this time, he would stay drug-free. Only until he was clean could he return to his Mom’s home, he told Mary. He then said, “I love my Mom so much.” Tears.
Mary texted his Mom from the plane to tell her that her son was okay, and not to worry. He was in good hands.
One week prior to this serendipitous meeting, Mary had shared with me that she was interested in starting a support group of like-minded moms that were struggling with a child battling addiction. A kind of lifeline for her and other moms. How would she find her people, she inquired? She didn’t want to be too public for fear that her troubles would become fodder for the affluent community in which her family resided. The last few years had been a soul-sucking and exhausting existence, and she longed for connection and meaningful conversation. She wanted to find her tribe so that she didn’t have to do this alone.
The power of this meeting confirmed two things for her: 1) when one puts something out in the universe, it comes back around, and 2) the willingness to be vulnerable requires courage and being brave, and human beings crave and thrive on connection. There’s no guarantee that putting your heart out there won’t end in heartbreak, but, the alternative is to stay safe and to hide. Both scare the heck out of us, but one allows us the freedom to be and to learn how to fly, while the other keeps us small and quiet.
Mary desired to find her people, and once she was willing to speak this and seek it, here she was, one week later, in the airport, face to face with one of her people. No previous interaction. Two women willing to share in a raw exchange that brought comfort and connection to both of them.
We all need one another on this messy, beautiful, and brutal life journey. If you are struggling with something scary and dark, bring it into the light. Talk to someone. Share. Connect. Once you put light on your fears, it lessens its power. It’s not so scary anymore. Instead of holding you hostage, it becomes your companion in the work that you have in front of you.
The best part of being a life coach is sharing the road with my clients. We are all fellow travelers on this journey which normalizes, softens, and sweetens the path — especially when our lights are dimmed and we need a reminder and/or someone to light the way for us. Be wiling to have the courageous conversations. Like lovely Mary, put your heart out there. Take a chance. Be brave. Find your people. Healing is around the corner. oxox