Friday, February 24, 2017

Holding You in the Light: A special way to support someone

This past week one of our community elders died. Her name was Patti and though she was in her 90s, her messages of support and hope were timeless.  Whenever we would end our conversations, be it by e-mail or in-person, she would always say, “I’m holding you in the light.”

I interpreted this expression differently depending on our discussion. Sometimes I think she meant it as a means to protect me, other times it was a voice of encouragement, yet always it was her way of letting me know that I was wrapped in love and support.

Quakers use this expression when they intend to pray for someone, or as one Quaker put it when we want for someone what God wants for them—peace and healing and well-being and soundness of mind and body and spirit. Though we often say it very casually, without much thought, ideally, it is more than just words.

About 18 months ago, a friend was dying and a group of us were trying to assist his Mom in caring for him. It was challenging and overwhelming for Julie. We couldn’t always be at the house, but we wanted her to know that we loved and respected what she was trying to do. We gave her a bracelet and with it a note, An elder in our community ends her e-mails and conversations by saying “I’m holding you in the light.” We’ve found comfort, warmth, love and support in this old Quaker saying. It is with that in mind that we are send you the enclosed bracelet to be a tangible reminder that we are holding you in the light. “

Not only was Julie touched by the gift, but she wore the bracelet a lot, often touching it and turning the beads. This simple gesture provided a tangible reminder that we cared about her.

Asking someone how they feel and if they are okay is very caring, but adding the reminder that you are “holding them in the light” just kicks it up a notch. 

To my friend Patti, many thanks for the years you held me in your light and life. It meant a great deal to know that your sheltering presence was there for me. I will miss it. 

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