Word of the Week

Can you remember the last time you yelled (or spoke in a harsh tone) at a family member? Can you remember the last time you were crossed up with your partner or best friend? Can you remember the last time you snapped at a co-worker?

If you are anything like me it was sometime this week! We all have our moments, don't we of not speaking kindly or putting our best selves forward. There is no such thing as a perfect person doing the perfect things all the time. Thus, the necessary next step is a word that we can all relate to: repair.

Repair: the action of fixing or mending something.

Recently, I have learned about the work of Dr. Becky Kennedy a parent, teacher, psychologist specializing in helping parents have stronger relationships with their children (but truly her work applies to anyone in a relationship with another person).

In an April 2023 Ted Talk she offers up repair as the single most important tool in a relational tool box. We all yell. We all loose our cool. We all do things that we want to walk back, she says. But at the end of the day, we can rebound and grow, she offers, if we lean into repair.

For in repair making, you SHOW your desire to be connected well beyond your temporary blunders.

Kennedy says, "Repair is really the act of going back to a moment that didn't feel good, taking responsibility, reconnecting and making a plan for going forward. You can change the ending of a story. It's not the yelling that messes up a kid [or person]. It's the lack of repair after."

Simply put: you have to be brave enough to talk about the stuff that it would be easier to pretend didn't happen. You have to be brave enough to give voice to the unhappy feelings. You have to be proactive in re-connecting heart-to-heart.

Of course, this doesn't mean that every relationship will be restored after a breakdown, but it like the old saying goes, you never know till you try!

I don't know about you, but repair often gifts my closest relationships with more closeness.

Such might sound crazy (because repairing is hard work and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!) but when heels are dug in and hearts come together to say to one another, "I love you enough to be uncomfortable and to figure this out " you know it's the real deal.

So this week, who do you need to call? Who do you need to invite to lunch? With what person do you need to linger longer in a conversation to get to that subject?

We never stop doing repair. It's a life-long journey, if we accept it, to repair and repair some more!



P.S. Interested in learning more about specific steps you can take in repair? Here's more from Dr. Becky Kennedy on this here.

It is so easy when life get stuck in rough patches to focus solely on what is going wrong. It is easy to allow the imperfection around you define who you are. It is easy to allow the darkness to over take you.

And this looks a lot like hiding. It looks like crawling in your bed and not wanting to come out for days. It looks like dissociating yourself from the community-- a few good friends-- that can really support you. It looks like believing that your life is over. Really over.

But then there is another way.

And Leonard Cohen lays it out for us.

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.”

Several years ago, I was talking with a friend who was going through a difficult time. She was struggling to "move on" from what everyone said she should have been over months before. But, as she made progress through here pain, step by step as I wrote about last week there came a moment when she began to transition toward the light. She began to see things around her differently.

One afternoon she told me over coffee: “I feel like over the course of this year my heart has been broken deeper than I’ve ever known, at a deep, deep level. But at the same time, I’ve felt more seen and loved by a few of you than I’ve ever imagined either.”

She then took a breath and then went on, “So I’m thinking that sometimes the only way that real love can deep down deep inside of us is for our heart to be cracked open. And through the pain, love now has room to seep into me and live where nothing used to dwell.”

All I could say was wow! Breakthrough.

My friend went on: “I hate this pain, you know, but I'm learning to let the light in because of this darkness.”

What truth!

We are all cracked in some way.

The question is: are we are going to keep ringing the bells, even the broken ones?

We are all hurting.

The question is: are we vulnerable enough to be able to say, "I am not well" so that our offering, though how imperfect it is might be used for something greater?

We all know darkness.

The question is: do we believe that love can even transform the parts of us most shattered?

We all have bells to ring. 

As we keep going and keep ringing our bells, the light can get in. Shining beam by beam. Illuminating stride by stride. Radiating moment by moment.

Hope is born and others just might start singing along with us too.