Do you remember the movie "Mary Poppins" (the original, not the remake!)?
In the film, George Banks is the husband, father, and rising banker in the early 1900's. He likes order, tradition, and discipline. At one point in the movie he sings with deep conviction, "A British bank is run with precision. A British home requires nothing less." In his opening scene, he comes home from his job singing cheerfully. Everything is going according to his desires and plans (or so he thinks). His job is going well, his home is orderly and in line, his children are obedient and ready for bed when he gets home from work. Then, their nanny quits and Mary Poppins joins their family as the replacement. And everything in George's life begins to turn upside down. It all leads up to one dramatic scene. Late at night, George is called to a meeting with his bank bosses, presumably to be fired after his children had caused a panicked run on the bank. George leaves his house and starts walking in the night to the bank. He is alone, walking slowly, and you can almost feel the weight he is feeling: so heavy, so burdened, carrying all of it on his own shoulders, with no one to help alleviate some of the burden. No one to empathize, to really understand, and give compassion and encouragement. No one to pat him on the back, give him an "attaboy" and tell him he's doing such a great job. To point out the good things he does, in spite of the mistakes. As he's walking, you can't help but think about something Bert says in a conversation with George's children earlier in the movie. Bert is the kind and funny chimney sweep that goes on magical adventures with Mary Poppins and the Banks children. They are talking about George, and Bert says, "Look at it this way. You've got your mother to look after you. And Mary Poppins, and Constable Jones and me. Who looks after your father? Tell me that. When something terrible happens, what does he do? Fends for himself, he does. Who does he tell about it? No one! Don't blab his troubles at home. He just pushes on at his job, uncomplaining and alone and silent." Do you ever feel like this? Pushing on every day, feeling like you are going it alone? The truth is we weren't meant to go it alone. We all need someone we can "be real" with. Someone to share our frustrations, our victories, our failures, our wins, whether they are big or small. Who is that person for you? Maybe it's your spouse. Maybe it's a good friend. Maybe it's a family member or mentor. Or maybe you're saying, "I'm like George Banks. I don't have anyone like that in my life." If this is you, and you let me make one suggestion: be that person for someone else. Who is someone in your life that you could be a listening ear for? Take a chance, and reach out to that person. Grab a meal together or a cup of coffee, and be curious about what is going on in their life. Maybe even set up a regular weekly time that you get together to chat. And if it doesn't go as you hoped, don't give up. Keep trying. Think of another person and reach out to them. Just be curious and interested. We weren't meant to go it alone. If you feel like George Banks sometimes, walking this journey alone, resolve instead to be a person that lives a life in community with others. Be a person that takes chances and reaches out to others. Be a curious person. You'll find that life is so much better when you are doing life with others. Next step, Dan