The start of something.
Y’all, today I recorded my story for all the world to hear. It’s unbelievable that this life, a life so cracked over so many years, could be fused together to create anything beautiful. I used to be terrified to share it, ashamed of where I came from and the pain my mother caused. I loved her, so deeply, but in the very same breath, couldn’t speak of her. I couldn’t comprehend how much hurt she had caused. I broke for her and because of her.
It was a complicated place to be. For years upon years.
People who don’t experience this type of yanking and pulling, stretching between feelings and worlds (pain and suffering, joy and restoration), will not understand. “Move on,” they may say, “Pray more, you need to let it go.” Oh,dear one, if only it were that easy. If only it were so simple to stop loving someone who created you, carried you, raised you (even though at times they greatly failed at the “raising” part). It isn’t so easy to forget, to move on, to close one’s eyes to the pain and press forward. For years upon years I wanted to be seen, understood, not merely told to buck up– yet that’s what I did, I gathered my brokenness, packaged it up, and built a solid wall around myself with it. I stopped crying. I hid behind the wall. I pretended I was fine. I turned my eyes forward, rather than inward. I “thought of other things” and grew numb. I gave into everyone’s advice and “moved on.” I was suffocating, slowly, in a coffin of my own making.
Until I met Brian and Sarah Bessey, my high school youth pastors, who gave me freedom to break free. This dear couple embraced all of me, seeing beyond the shell. Sarah in particular, gave me permission to be broken, permission to share, and in turn, permission to mend properly. Sarah didn’t try to fix anything, but rather stood beside me and gently said, “Me too, I’ve suffered silently as well.” Sarah listened to my story, encouraged me to use it rather than hide it, to share it freely.
And so I began.
Slowly, my sea legs stabilized. My fear and shame slowly dissipated. I started sharing with intimate friends, then acquaintances, then small groups of women, then to my entire church, and now…now, to thousands on a popular podcast. WHAT in the actual heck. To God be the glory- because I cannot, for the love, fathom the weight of this. It sets me breathing into a paper bag, if I’m honest. I can only think of my small little world, with the tiny tribe of women I adore, and the neighbors and friends near me. However, I also have this strange gift.
I see broken people.
Call it a gift, call it empathy. Call it what you will. I see them. Those others pass by, the unnoticed, the broken, the blamed, the forgotten, the outcast, the hurting, the one fingers point at. Once I have seen them, thought of them, loved them, I cannot forget. I cannot unsee the weight of their pain.
The murderer’s brother, the drunk driver’s mother, the child sold into slavery, the woman forced to sell her body to feed her family, the addict on the corner, the depressed cousin, the hurting barren friend, the Muslim who feels ostracized, the daughter who never knew her father. I see them. Pieces of my heart lay upon the feet of each individual. Each story.
Every life on this earth is a miracle, every one. Each day we live has purpose, meaning, and power. We take one more breath because we aren’t done living our journey yet, aren’t done fulfilling His purposes for us on earth. Each of our stories are a gift to one another. We must share them. We MUST.
So, I’m challenging you (and myself, if I’m honest) to be someone’s “me too” today. Actively listen, without interruption- just listen. Let someone share without hindrance, and when they are done, tell that person thank you. Thank you for sharing your story with me. Thank you for being courageous and trusting me with it. I will shoulder it, we can carry one another’s load together. That’s it. That’s all you need to do. So simple, isn’t it? It is. No judging, no special words words to make it all better, no superficial platitudes, just “me too, I’ve suffered silently too.” Because we all have, at one time or another, in some way.
Be someone’s “me too” today. It will not change all the world but it will start a ripple, which will over time become waves.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”