I wish it was socially acceptable to walk around with duct tape over my mouth because stuff comes out periodically that mortifies me. But every now and then, the opposite happens and a string of words rolls off the tongue leaving me thinking whoa that was interesting. Where did that come from? Can we just stop? Let's hold up a minute and put those words on the table as though they were a physical objects we could touch, rearrange, and look at for a while.
When the words "one anothering" rolled out unscripted in the middle of a one hour extremely scripted workshop, they hung there while my little brain had an epiphany. With only one hour to deliver something of substance to a very diverse group there was no wiggle room for stopping mid-stream and yelling bingo. But that is precisely what I wanted to do. I wanted to yank on the emergency brake and explore the phrase and the richness of the possibilities it offered. One anothering was the key, it was the magic sauce with the power to permanently alter personal and professional relationships.
The first time the words one another were used in print was 1526. It was quite a year for new words in print. There were a few other words recorded that year which did not speak to healthy relationships with one another, like busybody, conceited, stiff-necked, and hurtful. Gonorrhea showed up in print as a possible indicator of the wrong kind of one anothering. I went on a little detour to find out what was going on in world events in 1526, only to discover the reports didn't look much different than those of 2018. Politics, religion, power and nasty weather were all in the headlines. Yet somehow, the words one another made it into print. What I don't know is how the words were used or the context.
What I do know is that one anothering has great possibilities. We can look after one another. Humans have the ability to support and encourage one another. Lending a helping hand, sharing knowledge, giving of our time, and just being present to listen are all examples of one anothering. The beauty of it is that we have the power to choose to engage in one anothering and I'm convinced when we make that choice we receive so much more than we give.
Last week I was able to be present and actively do the one another thing for several other folks, and I was the recipient of advice and encouragement from a colleague who shared generously. Honestly, I find it much easier to be the one giving than the one taking because like many of you I have been culturally preprogrammed to think asking for help is a sign of weakness or ineptitude. However, this past year I have been actively trying to support others and to ask for help when needed. I have been wearing a bracelet on my right wrist which serves as a reminder of the power of one anothering.
Printed into the rubber bracelet are the words, "No one fights alone." I have discovered I run my fingers over the words quite often. Although the bracelets were circulated to family as a reminder of His Next Page's fight, mine has crossed over to being an even larger reminder of the fact we are all tiny little specks on a globe. We need each other, we need to be present for each other, and if we wish to flourish we must make one anothering a priority. What's your experience with one anothering?
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