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.