“Seeing yourself as a fixer may cause you to see brokenness everywhere, to sit in judgment on life itself. When we fix others, we may not see their hidden wholeness or trust the integrity of the life in them.” –Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., “My Grandfather’s Blessings”
The quote above comes from a chapter in the book called “Belonging.” In it, Remen, the author, describes the difference between serving, helping, and fixing. She describes serving as a “relationship between people who bring the full resources of their combined humanity to the table and share them generously.” When you help someone, she says, it creates an inequity in the relationship, the helper being stronger than the one being helped. Fixing implies we know what’s best for someone else.
When I sent out this week’s theme, I suggested you be careful. I was concerned that people would interpret it as a call to go out and “fix” their friends, which is far from what I had in mind. What I was aiming for was better stated in the Mid-Week Inspiration message, summed up in psychologist Debbie Hall’s essay for the radio program “This I Believe.” She wrote about the importance of simply “being there” for people.
So in presenting this theme I wanted to avoid having you try to “fix” your friends. What I hoped for was a situation in which you could “serve” a friend in need. A big part of true kindness, I think, comes when we serve.
It may be that kindness only comes when we serve.