I get the privilege of being able to be a part of a faith based conference where in a weeks’ time we look at pieces of our past to see how it impacts our actions today and in doing that we have the opportunity to make changes to reshape our future. It is in this setting that I share with you my heart today.
I was quickly taken on a painful voyage as I heard a gentleman share about the brutal way that he grew up…my heart and mind felt the weight of the account as it was unveiled by the teller…
I recalled a part of my own history that was eerily similar and as I thought about my experiences I felt an explosion of fear, shame and anger that quickly imploded into an ambiguous cloud of apathy and nothingness that seemed to settle in the marrow of my bones. However, as I stood there and tried to push that explosion of emotion away, a beautiful friend asked me what was going on and if I wanted to talk about it. I just shrugged and told her that I just wanted a hug, which she willingly gave to me. As she embraced me she said, “I’m your friend and I’m here for you, I can see something is wrong…do you want to talk…?”
I wanted to be strong enough to say “no” but the truth is…I felt as if I were on the verge of brokenness. In that moment I felt like a smile…a glance…or a frown would be enough to bring the onslaught of tears that threatened to break through the fortress-like dam I had built. I struggled to hold back those tears that for years had always been a tangible sign of intolerable weakness.
I started to shove away those intense feelings and began to rationalize and minimize the intensity of the battle that promised to erupt inside of me.
I wanted to say I didn’t need her to be there…
I wanted to believe that I didn’t need to share what was going on…
I thought that I shouldn’t be the one to take her time and energy…
I felt that there were so many other more deserving people who needed her…
The truth is…I needed this woman to be with me in my pain and chaos. I needed her to be a tangible person that I could see as journeying with me and standing with me as the walls of my fortified dam came crumbling down…someone who would help me to keep my head above the water. I needed her to help me to recognize and validate those deep hurts that I keep trying to pretend don’t exist or don’t have power over me. I needed to hear her voice say that she really did want to know what was going on with me.
The more I thought about it…the less power my shame had over me.
My heart longed to shed tears for the unspoken pain…my rationalizations quieted.
I found myself agreeing and wanting a few minutes of her time and that beautiful lady gave me the room to just speak freely and I did…I shared with her the scenes that got pulled from that secured vault in my mind and the entire time I couldn’t stop my tears from falling.
She honored me so very deeply as I shared that moment with her. Though my face was covered in tears, distorted by my own disgust and pain…and my head was bowed in the recollection of such deep shame and what felt like such a juvenile frustration…my heart felt so unbelievably vulnerable—her words echoed the truth of who I am. She recognized my fear and the anguish of my heart that to me felt overwhelming and instead of trying to fix me or give me some sort of shallow panacea…she sat with me. By her words I felt seen and heard. I felt the burden of the chaos I carried dwindle. Though the pain was intense the truth of her heart that drew me back to a place of knowing I was loved! What a crazy beautiful gift.
God never created us to do life alone.
Genesis 2:18 “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.’”
Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
As I write and the words fill the page, I feel foolish as I recognize how often that I try to stand on my own. I sometimes feel that I should be able to do life as a single solitary person because I don’t trust others to have my back. Sometimes it just feels too weak for me to depend on others. Sometimes I see things through the filter of the pain in my past and the distorted beliefs of what I believed growing up manifest itself…many times it’s a combination of several things.
Though I know that I need to keep in relationship with healthy, loving people…often in my own hurt and wounding, I push people away and isolate. I’ve been on a journey of healing for a time and it’s a continual challenge to not only show people the happy, joking and joy-filled part of me…but also to be vulnerable and share with people who honor and love me (those who have shown me that they will tenderly hold my heart and see my sharing as a gift), a different side of me that experiences deeply the reward and pain of life.
I’m learning what it looks like to share my life with others in a way that creates intimacy and promotes healing—God help me to reach out and keep walking forward.