“I cannot learn other people’s lessons for them.

They must do the work for themselves,

and they will do it when they are ready”.

Louise Hay




It’s regrettably painful to watch those we love, struggle with addiction, or all sorts of gut wrenching problems.

It’s tough to stand by and watch them suffer. To see them walk with downcast eyes, or an angry spirit. To see their sadness and melancholy. Their dependency on prescription drugs and alcohol. And it’s really tough, to bear witness to their self-doubt and lack of self-worth.

As parents or friends, we can be easily wounded by their pain.

We can fall prey to our own sense of shame, by not knowing what to say, or by feeling helpless in not knowing how to help. We can burden ourselves with very serious and unwarranted guilty, by not being able to do more.

But we cannot learn their lessons for them.

We are incapable of living their lives.

We cannot carry their cross.

And in the process, when we try, we only hurt ourselves, by becoming their scapegoat and surrogate, an unsolicited, enabling crutch.

We have to learn to let go.

We have to trust in the ultimate meaning of all creation.

We have to let God drive.

We must let go and let them carry their problems by themselves. Let them take their lumps. To let them learn their lessons.

We must give them a chance.

A chance to correct their course. To see the value of their lives.

But those we love may not be ready.

That’s certainly understandable. Most meaningful things take a long time to build and accomplish. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was the Notre Dame Cathedral. It takes patience and oodles of reassurance. It takes faith that the sun will rise again tomorrow.

And it will.

The sun will rise, and spring will come.

So, unburden yourself of your guilt.

Let go.

When they are ready. They will find their way home.

Change will come.  

And when it does, rest certain, that they will be better. They will become a beacon of hope for others.