Last night was my first training session for small group facilitation at Supporting KIDDS in Hockessin, DE.
The program that I’ll be facilitating is called “Healing Pathways". Due to my own life experiences with grief, this is where I’ve been compelled to be for a while now. I know that I lived through my own grief so that one day I might be able to help someone else.
In many ways I see this experience as a kind of group therapy for all of us who are volunteering in this program together. Each one of us has a story to tell: A story of pain and victory, a story of a desire to help others, a story of a longing to give back because someone somewhere along the way might’ve helped us when we needed it. Whatever our individual stories might be, we all share the common goal to “be present” for the kids who need us.
Our training will be 4 sessions (4 weeks) long, and in those sessions we will learn many things about how to do the work ahead of us. But mostly, I believe we’re also learning about ourselves and how we can either personally heal from our own wounds, or how we can help those we love to heal from their wounds. Either way, I know in my heart that we are there for greater reasons – for healing.
Only one session into the program, and I’m already motivated and enlightened. The Clinical Director, Valarie Molaison, Ph.D., F.Th. Licensed Psychologist (is not only FAB-u-LOUSSSS!!) but she did a guided relaxation/visualization for us to break some barriers at the beginning of the session. This was an amazing exercise for all of us. She specifically tasked us to recall one adult who made a difference in our lives as children. At first I wondered, “Oh, man! Who would that be? I don’t know who that would be!” But then as my mind wandered, I remembered someone. I remembered Jean MacGuinness. My mom was a librarian in our school library, and Mrs. MacGuinness was the head librarian. Close to 80 years old at the time, she appeared to me as an extremely shy 4 year old as a prim and proper, stogy, elderly woman. Too young to go to school, I would spend my days by her side at the library, looking through picture books and learning the Dewey Decimal System so that I could help put the returned books away. I remembered her red suit and hat atop her silvery gray hair. I remembered her perfume – powdery and clean, and I remembered how much I loved it, and then I remembered the day that she lifted my shy chin up toward Heaven, and holding it there, she told me to stop walking with my chin down. She told me how valuable and beautiful I was, and that I would miss the world if I never looked at it. I remembered how she would bring all the librarians danish in the mornings, and she’d always give me first choice, and how I would always choose the cherry danish.
...And then my thought stream broke - it dawned on me: “Hey, wait! I don’t love cherries…Why DID I always choose the cherry danish?” I guess because they were red…hhmm…wait, Jean Macuinness’s suit was red on the day that she touched me and informed me of my value….hhmmmm….maaaaybeeee… the red cherry danish reminded me that I was valuable to some person other than the ones in my own family. WOW! What a crazy revelation!! CHERRY DANISH = LOVE!
So this story begs the question: “Can you recall an adult who made a difference in your life when you were a child? …who is that person?”
- REMEMBER HOW YOU FELT.
- REMEMBER what it was that they did (no matter how small) to make a difference in your world….what did you hear, what did you smell, what did you see? Were they your “Cherry Danish”?
…and farther still: Are YOU a “Cherry Danish” for someone in your life?
I love you, Jean MacGuinness! <3