Witnesses to Life

Today Terry and I witnessed the adoption of two of the children from church.  What a blessing it was to be included as friends and family gathered to share in the joyous occasion.  The circumstances that had brought these children into this family were rather dire.  But here we all were, the two boys most of all, celebrating this event.  I felt caught up into the shared elation, a part of the family network of relationships.

              Being witnesses to life seems like mindfulness intensified, a greater awareness of being a participant in that which you witness.   I have a friend on FaceBook who has full time responsibility for what I understand to be a great nephew.  I do not know what created the situation that made her care  necessary.  But in every post, love just radiates from the page.  I find myself writing comments to her, affirming the love she conveys.  Even in the unconventional, rather sterile world of a computer screen, I somehow feel I am experiencing the gift of participating in this little family. 

              So many times as a therapist I felt like a witness to life emerging from some dark place.  Once, as a very young therapist just starting out, I was working with a depressed woman who browsed in bookstores just to get herself out of the house.   When, after some weeks of therapy, I commented that she was beginning to look brighter, she responded that she, indeed, was feeling better.  She noted that she even had discovered books on the upper shelves! She had been so downcast for so long that she had never noticed anything existed above the lower shelves. 

              Beyond being mindful, I encourage you to think in terms of being witnesses to life.  Pay attention to whether that increases your sense of participation, being vitally connected to that which you witness.

              May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.Shalom, Kate 

Hope’s Café Bonus:  I recall from my sociology courses, the term “Participant Observer,” a role a researcher would fulfill by actually participating in an activity, not simply observing it.    Witnesses to Life seems to me a richer, though similar, term.  Witnessing Life combines being mindful, for example, of the song of the bird, and feeling connected to the bird and in some sense being part of its song, as well.

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