Creating Harbor

I wrote to a teacher friend recently:  “the real “trick” in teaching is that all the teachers who show up to teach are themselves people dealing with the broken pieces of their own humanity.  Into their rooms and lives each day walk little human beings with their broken pieces. Teachers who have not done any work on their own broken humanity will become harsh and forbidding of the child that most reminds  them of themselves.”

This dynamic is true not just for teachers but for all of us in our daily life settings. How do we become kinder, more compassionate people with the very people who remind us of too much of our own brokenness?

I think we have to create harbors for ourselves–that we carry around, that we place on the refrigerator, the computer screen, the bathroom mirror,  a tattoo on our hands, or an emblem worn on a chain around our necks.  What word or symbol or image would remind you that you are precious and ask you this most provocatively healing question:

How could anyone ever tell you–you were anything less than beautiful?

How could anyone ever tell you–you were less than whole?

How could anyone fail to notice–that your loving is a miracle?

How deeply you’re connected to my soul!

The words to this powerful song do two things at once–they shatter the notion that we who sing them have run out of hope, out of grace, out of dignity.  They also strike the possibility that anyone else we look at or encounter might also be included.  How deeply they are connected to our souls!  (Yes, especially those that we most wish to judge, blame, shame and deplore).

With a song like this, or a symbol, or a little message taped somewhere, we create harbor for ourselves, and we create the possibility that we just might be harbor for someone else.

Bob Patrick

  • “How Could Anyone” p. 1053 in Singing the Journey,  words and music by Libby Roderick.
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