Find Your Own Aunt Agnes
What you help a child to love can be more important than what you help him to learn. —African Proverb
Last month my Aunt Agnes passed away at the age of 86; I have cherished her my entire life. Her funeral was one of the most beautiful I have ever attended. A nun with the Sisters of Mercy since 1950, she lived a beautiful and wholly authentic life. She loved deeply and cared passionately about people, she was sharp, full of wisdom and hilarious. To describe her in a paragraph is not possible, so I won’t.
We all have an Aunt Agnes in our lives,a person who we admire and love. When we are in a difficult spot, they have just the right words to change our perspective, to make us laugh, to forgive ourselves or somebody else.
So scan your web of support and look for your own Aunt Agnes, pull them in and hold on dearly to those with a great capacity to love who can show us how to live. Surround yourself with grace. Identify frenemies* and decide to not carry them. As was said in her eulogy, “…on those days when we need to experience all that is good and right in the world, we can invoke her by imagining a perfume atomizer of Agnes, spraying her essence, then walk into the midst of her spirit.” Thank you Aunt Agnes for your wisdom in all things great and small. May you all find strength and sustenance in those with whom you surround yourself.
Frenemy \’fre-na-me\ noun; A frenemy is someone who is both friend and enemy, a relationship that is both mutually beneficial or dependent while being competitive and fraught with risk and mistrust. The type of “friend” whose words or actions bring you down (whether you realize it as intentional or not). The core characteristic of a frenemy is that the person does not have your back and you ought to cut off the relationship, but don’t.