It may be that instead of giving us a friendly world that would never challenge us and therefore never make us strong, God gave us a world that would inevitably break our hearts, and compensated for that by planting in our souls the gift of resilience. (Kushner 2007, p.55)*
My good friend Brian is a ‘tinkerer’, a very good one. If there’s work to be done on a machine Brian is your ‘go to man’. He can analyse, adjust, maintain or fix most things mechanical. For example, I recently bought a second hand lawnmower that wasn’t quite running right. After a few hours with Brian that machine was humming like a new one. Brian sure is talented.
I appreciate having Brian around to help me fix machines when they break, but I would never want, or expect, Brian try to ‘fix’ me at times when I’m not quite running right. Why?
I’m human and need to experience pain and failure in order to learn. I also have feelings and emotions (unlike machines) that at times I don’t understand myself until I take time out to reflect.
If you were to ever feel that I’m not quite running right, I’d appreciate your time, compassion, empathy and conversation but, ‘Please Don’t Try to Fix Me – I’m Not a Machine’. People aren’t objects to be fixed and tinkered with like lawnmowers; we’re ‘beings’ to be understood and ‘meet’.
Challengingly in our modern world, and in particularly in risk and safety, it can be tempting to want to fix people when things are not quite running right. We can struggle to deal with pain and suffering as part of a normal life as we constantly hear messages focused on ‘fixing’, ‘helping’ and ‘preventing’, all of which have their place. But so too do pain, suffering and grief.
* Kushner, H. S. (2007) Overcoming Life’s Disappointments; Learning from Moses How to Cope with Frustration. Anchor Books. New York. United States