You are someone’s lifeline

You are someone’s lifeline

You are someone's lifeline | Modern Mrs Darcy

It doesn’t feel like that long ago when I was a young mom with a small baby who wouldn’t eat or sleep or just be like other people’s kids, and I was drowning. Completely, utterly drowning.

I didn’t know what I needed–what I was missing–until someone threw me a lifeline: they extended an invitation and pulled me into a community I hadn’t known I wanted but desperately needed.

Of course, that’s not the only time I’ve needed a lifeline, but it’s a memorable one.

I’m an empathizer (an over-empathizer, actually) so I’m pretty decent at recognizing the signs.Not always–but often–I can spot the signs of trouble, see when the water’s getting high, know when it’s time to throw the rope.

Sometimes that looks like an invitation into community, sometimes that looks like dropping by with coffee. Someone may need a listening ear, or maybe she just needs someone to watch the baby for an hour or two so she can go to Target and wander down each and every aisle, in blissful solitude.

I have been the lifeline, and I have needed the lifeline. Is that just the ways things are, that we take turns rotating in and out of these roles, filling them for each other? Probably. I think so.

You will need a lifeline. (If you’re lucky–and I’m not usually–you may have the clarity to recognize it. Ask.)

And consider that you may be the lifeline.

If that’s you today (and someday, it will be), throw the rope.

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16 comments

  1. aimee says:

    I popped onto facebook for just a second and this was at the top of my feed and how amazingly timely…it’s been a rough morning with a friend who is suffering from severe postpartum and is now moving into an inpatient facility. I’ve long ago reached past that point of being able to empathize with her and really get my head around what she is going through. I’m at that point where all I can do is sympathize, pray and continue to throw that lifeline to her even when I don’t know how to help, what to say or even really understand what she is going through. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement that even tiny movements of reaching out can make such a difference.

  2. Ana says:

    What a great great reminder—particularly when we are feeling good and things have finally eased up—a great time to look around and see who may need a little help or even just encouragement.

  3. Tim says:

    Sometimes I need a lifeline I can grab at, and sometimes I need someone to jump into the roiling waters to grab me and carry me to safety. I hope to do the same for others, Anne, and to have the wisdom to discern whether to throw the line or join them in the waters.

  4. Meg R says:

    I love how you write about subjects that are so important, yet rarely discussed. I look forward to reading your blog every single day. There have been times I have read your blog and YOU have been a lifeline to me . Thank you.

  5. Faigie says:

    It’s great to be a lifeline for someone and very special that you have the ability to see when someone needs one. It is important though, to also recognize when the person who needs a lifeline also needs professional help so you can send them on to that lifeline that they may need really badly.

  6. MJ says:

    I always want to BE the lifeline, but it’s really hard for me to NEED a lifeline. This post was a fabulous reminder to me that both are equally important.

  7. Beth says:

    This post really resonated with me. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it for a week. 🙂 It’s so difficult to ask for help sometimes, to know you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position by admitting to someone your sadness or pain. AND, I think because a lot of us are raised to mind our own business, we may feel uncomfortable asserting ourselves into someone else’s life, even if we think they’re struggling. It’s a really important topic to talk about; it prompted these thoughts, for me: http://bethwindler.com/2014/01/21/lifelines/

    • Anne says:

      Beth, thanks for sharing that. I really appreciated your reflections on reaching out to your friend when you were going through a tough time. Thanks for sharing that–I think it does us so much good to talk about it!

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