“I feel so helpless,” I said aloud as I painstakingly applied shredded cotton strands to the brick façade of my home. They were ‘spider webs’. My daughter had complained that we didn’t have nearly enough decorations for Halloween and so my sweet old friend brought some of hers. The air was chilled and yet, stagnant, but a shift was coming. I felt it in my bones. A change of season, yes, but change in general was ushering in.
“Why is that, love?” she asked, placing black plastic spiders on the webs I was creating. Gingerly, I moved the ladder out of her way, giving her room.
“There’s a friend I went to college with and she is having such a hard time dealing with this guy from her past. Their relationship was passionate and fierce. He still has a hold over her. Every once in a while he pops up again in her life and it never ends well.” I climbed up a few rungs of the ladder and continued weaving my web. “I just don’t like seeing her suffer,” I said finally. “I want to ease her troubles.”
My friend sighed. “Have you ever heard the saying: ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys’?”
“Yes,” I laughed. “Touché.”
“You want to help this woman? Truly?”
I turned and looked her straight in the eye. “Of course I do.”
My friend smiled knowingly. She straightened her plum-coloured beret and said: “And not save her, right? Just help her?”
My shoulders slumped. She knew me too well. I zipped up my black vest and threw the hood over my head. “She doesn’t need to be saved. I know that. But yes, I am probably more involved and invested than I need to be.”
She placed more spiders in the web. “So are you looking for my advice?”
I looked down at the leaf-covered ground just then and attempted to clear my mind. I did want to hear what she had to say. Sometimes I just needed to hear Spirit through someone else. Sometimes it seemed gentler or less intimidating somehow. “Yes, I am,” I uttered quietly.
“Listen. That’s it. Just listen to her.”
I nodded and then asked: “But what if she wants my advice? What if she wants me to tell her what to do?”
My friend placed the last spider in the soft, gauzy mat and clapped her gloved hands together. “Sometimes there is simply nothing to say. The battle isn’t yours and there are too many layers to the fight. And in the end it’s not about being right. It’s about being willing to witness something Higher than what your eyes can see.”
The truth of her words settled into my heart. They belonged there, words, and not in my head. In my head, fear spoke first, but from my heart truth reigned. “There is pain, so much pain and who am I to judge it? Who am I to comment?” I said to her.
“Well, if you want to be truly helpful then you already know the answer to that question.”
I stepped down to the ground from my perch on rung number three.”If I’m honest, his hold over her scares me a little. She believes so much of what he says without question. But I think I see what I’m doing.”
Thunder rumbled in the distance. Or was it a train? “And what are you doing?” she asked.
“I’m engaging with fear when instead, I can witness with Spirit. I can be the web, holding onto every fearful word and story that comes my way or I can be like water, letting it all run its course.”
My friend beamed, “Yes! And you don’t really need to question why that scares you. Just start by witnessing the fear and taking it to your Higher Power.”
The sky broke open right then. I looked up and laughed. Rain fell fast and felt icy cold on my skin. The webs would hold for now. They’d hold until I took them down.
“So just listen?” I shouted to her as we ran for my door leaving the ladder to its own devices.
“Just listen!” she shouted back, giggling.