A forever friend flew into town the other day and I honestly couldn’t wait for her to show up.
I longed for us to pour out our hearts to one another, because this is truly what I love about being human!
I love how deeply we can exchange pieces of our souls with one another and how something so deep within one soul can connect with another, as if it was their own story being spoken.
Its in moments like this I feel the most alive.
This friend of mine, has lived enough life to be able to understand the condition of my heart even when I don’t have the right words to speak.
And there’s something special about finding this kind of connection in the middle of a struggle.
We met years ago and somehow we continue finding one another despite how many years go by in between.
As we walked into our neighborhood coffee shop that afternoon, I was approached by an older gentleman.
He asked me a simple question wondering how Joe and I were holding up these days.
He knows the battle we’ve been fighting and he was curious how we were doing.
And just like every time I’ve been asked that question lately,
You see, I’ve really been struggling with this simple question these days.
And to this sweet older man’s defense or any other beautiful human who’s asking me this question lately, it’s really not them, it’s not even their question…It’s everything that’s twisted up in this question that has my stomach tied up in knots lately.
Because I honestly don’t know how to answer it.
You see, most the time when we ask a question like this we want a quick and positive answer.
We want something we can tuck away, something to settle the unrest we’ve been carrying around for their ache honestly we just want that person better.
Because somehow if they’re better; our life is better too.
And the truth is, there’s a whole lot of mystery in this kind of living.
Because when our interactions happen in fractions of seconds a day, through a quick text or passing by, we can often miss how people are really doing.
Yet I get it.
And if we’re being honest, how can anyone put words around all the hard things we’re living through in a quick passing of our day?
Because we don’t always have the right words to say in a coffee shop full of strangers.
How could I tell all I was holding deep within my chest at that very moment?
And did he really have time to see all my scars and hear of the lingering wounds Joe’s been carrying around these days?
So, I settled with just an easy smile and ‘he’s doing well…’ because honestly some unpacking of our heart needs to be done when the ones asking this question can handle what we’re about to tell them with the understanding our soul is needing.
And that’s just what my friend and I did as we comfortably settled into our chairs and opened up our hearts over a coffee and a tea.
She told me the feelings I’ve been carrying around lately were completely understandable. Her empathy offered me the permission to feel and process all the emotions I’d been wrestling within and wondered if it was normal to feel.
And when people give our feelings a place in our story its as if something beautiful comes alive within us.
As we left that evening I don’t think my friend really knew what she had done for me.
Because I think the art of connection and allowing another’s story to be heard really does something that is often overlooked and underrated.
But I truly believe if we’d do more of this there’d be a whole lot more healing happening around us.
Because there’s something truly powerful about a story coming alive.
I know this because the times others have been brave enough to show me their scars, it’s often the beginning of something big.
Friend, we all have battle wounds to prove we’ve lived through some hard things of our own.
And this beautiful friend of mine is living proof of this.
She’s living through something many couldn’t survive.
I think that’s what’s always drawn me to her…
For years we spent our days raising our families miles apart, both doing the best we could.
Our lives overlapped so much it’s almost crazy how God let this happen, almost
as if he had a purpose back then
But then, an unimaginable tragedy crashed into her home.
For me it was something I never expected, but for her it was different.
Because when a marriage turns into a nightmare and you’re afraid for your life…the rescue God allows can come like brutal relief.
And watching my friend live out her own brave story has been life-giving for me as we’ve been living through this cancer scare.
When her news came over the phone, I knew I wanted to show up, so I went.
Because sometimes showing up, is all we know to do.
And this is truly often the invitation we’re all waiting for to split ourselves wide open.
So, this Sunday evening when it was my turn to do the same, it seemed almost too easy to do.
I shouldn’t have been surprised when my words spilled out and they were graciously met with such compassion and understanding…
Because everything we live through is really an opportunity for compassion to be birthed…
those bright red hearts we gain from our struggles.
Because friend, life requires us to bravely live and part of doing this is sharing our story with others whom we sit across from.
Sometimes this means sharing our story of courage and other times it’s listening to the brave soul who’s courageously uncovering their wounds for us to see…regardless of which it is, both require us to live vulnerably amongst others.
Because there’s something we all do alike in struggles.
We make it past the initial shock of the beginning and find ourselves inside the
messy middle of something….
And it’s here we have this brave choice to live our unspoken life out loud for others to see God in these moments.
Yes, its hard but its where deep soul healing truly happens and where we often discover the hidden blessings God has for us.
Because every time we tell our story a piece of our broken heart begins to heal.
What about you friend, are you in the midst of something hard, that feels like it may swallow you up?
Know -God has you, he sees you and you are deeply loved!
And if there’s anything I’m learning these days is
…Go ahead, be brave and tell your story.
Because it’s in doing this you will truly heal!