Monday, June 27, 2011

Support Networks - Eleanor Shepherd

            Why are transitions so difficult for us?  One reason might be that they force us to leave the comfort of our support networks.  We have to rebuild our support network every time we face a major change in our situation. 
            It happens when we change jobs.  I learned this month that the office of Opportunity International for Quebec and Atlantic Canada will be closing.  Since that office is located in my home, that means that I am obliged to change jobs.  While I have been working from my home office, I have been linked with my colleagues at the National Office in Toronto and in other offices across the country on a daily basis.  Now that contact will no longer continue and I will not only need to find a new employer, I will also need to establish a new work support network. 
            This morning at our church service we accepted a new member of our congregation.  This man is not young and he is in what may well be the final stages of his battle with cancer.  However, he chose to become a member of the church.  Why?  It was important for him to acknowledge that he was a part of this support network.  He has been able to share something of his own faith journey and offer hope to others as he has received treatment at four different hospitals during his battle with cancer.  It is not only that he wants to be a member of our church.  He talked about being in fellowship with his mother and his grandparents that have predeceased him.  He is part of a much larger network that is supporting him.
            Recently a friend faced the unexpected death of her husband from whom she was divorced several years ago.  She had at that time had to relinquish the support network that had been part of their married life.  However, when he died, a group of friends were at the funeral who had been part of the support group of this couple at the time that they were married.  The support network they had established at that time emerged for her again when she needed it. 
            We are always building or repairing these support networks, either unconsciously or intentionally.  It is sometimes in the crisis of our lives that we realize how important they are.  How lost we, ourselves would have been at the time of our son’s traumatic accident if we had not had our support networks to help us through the dark days of coming to terms with his paralysis. 
            Our support networks enable us to do more that we could do independently.  It is in our own interest to nurture and develop the relationships that make up these support networks.  Not only do we need them when challenges come our way.  They also sustain us through the transitions.  While my work support networks are in the process of being dismantled and reassembled, I still have the support network provided by my family, my church congregation and my writing community.  Together we make it through.    

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Thank you for sharing your present journey with its challenges, which (like those other examples) serves as a case in point of the need for support networks. How important that we don't push away from our lives those people who form them. We never know when we may need them, or when they may need us.

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