As a kid, I imagined that shipwrecks and quicksand were going to be a lot more of a problem than they turned out to be. I’d sometimes lay in my bed at night envisioning myself struggling onto a desolate shore in tattered clothes. The terror was not about getting marooned on an island, but being ALONE on that island with a ball I named Wilson. If it was a Swiss Family Robinson situation, I’d be cool. I could eat coconuts and raw fish as long as there were other people and a badass treehouse.
As a new mom I felt very, very alone. I was also newly married, so I tried to make my husband into my girlfriend. He was a terrible girlfriend. First: When I had an emotionally crazy day, he was scared of me. Second: He does not like drama. He can hash out all of life’s problems in under 30 seconds. Third: He makes fun of all TV shows. Fourth: He doesn’t even like junk food.
I sat across from you today. You are struggling, you are tired.
As looked into her eyes I recognized the exhaustion and the fear. I recognized the question, the one that asks am I going to be okay? I remembered a dark season in my life. I remembered when I was so undone with anxiety that I couldn’t take the kids to the beach or even make it out of the house.
I remembered when I had no hope.
I remembered a friend who showed up every single day on my doorstep. She’d ask, “What are you afraid of today?” I’d tell her and she’d listen. She’d really listen…that was the gift. When I’d run all out of words I would sit shaking on my porch trying to feel the sun that beat down all around me, but never touched my skin.
When we first got married I was so excited to do EVERYTHING together. I couldn’t wait. I worked at a coffee shop and I told a friend of mine that I was even going to start working with Graham (as a self-employed window washer). “This is a terrible idea.” he said.
I’m not sure if it was my inability to clean things, or the fact that I wanted to spend 24 hours a day with only one person that tipped him off.
One crisp and starry evening, I was sitting around the fire with some of my best friends eating Oreos and drinking wine, when a little argument broke out among the newlyweds. It went something like this…
Friends, we need each other. Live bravely today. Live shamelessly. There are people that will take your invitation. Not only will you find belonging, but most likely you’ll give the gift of it to someone else.