Practicing Parents

Leaning

lean

~by Jill Clingan

“When you are off-kilter in your body everything goes to the right,” she said as she pulled out the needles. “Wrap yourself in a blanket. Sit with your left side leaning up against a tree or a loved one or facing towards a fire.”

Dr. Jill said these words to me today after my acupuncture session. I have been seeing her for several months to help balance my hormones, and somehow this intuitive, wise woman frequently knows more about my body than I do. Often, I wonder what secrets my body tells her.

Today, after hearing her words, I sat in my car and cried.

I’m not sure why, exactly. I think I cried partly because acupuncture releases what is blocked inside of me. Sometimes after acupuncture I am angry or sad or really tired. Today I didn’t feel sad, exactly, but I felt raw and vulnerable and open.

I think it was also this: the thought of leaning against someone to right what is wrong inside of me is hard.

I’m not very good at leaning. I don’t mind being leaned on; I love to nurture and support and love. But sometimes I have a hard time being nurtured and supported and loved.

It’s hard for me to lean.

To lean is to be quiet.

To lean is to be still.

To lean is to admit that I cannot always do.

To lean is to be.

The online Merriam Webster dictionary defines lean this way:
“to cast one’s weight to one side for support.”

I have been reading many of the Psalms this Lenten season. The poetry of the Psalms, their raw honesty and earnest pleas, echo my own raw and earnest heart.

Psalms 37:7 says this: “Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him.”

When I’m off-kilter, these words remind me how to right myself. As clunky and unpoetic as it sounds, these words remind me how—and on whom–to “cast my weight to one side for support.”

I can lean against the sturdy shoulders of those who love me from the inside out.
I can lean against a solid tree, firmly rooted in the earth.
I can lean towards the warmth of a fire.
And I can lean—I can cast all my weight–into the arms of the One who can right what is askew within my spirit, who can hold me up no matter how hard I need to lean.

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