A second weekend in a row without my sidekick and it was really quiet. There was a lot of time to reflect. To listen and hear God. To step up to the conversations where I was hiding hurt and get them fully out in the open.
As I logged off of social media for the weekend, I had a little bit of unidentified hurt in my heart. I thought I knew what it was but brushed it aside as foolish and really not something worth delving too far into. But, it didn’t let me go. And even today, three days later, there are some residual tingles from the root of the matter.
And then, as if to remind me that God knows, I got a lovely care package from a friend who did not know how I would be feeling. She did not know that my heart was stinging. She did not know that I would be without almost all of the distractions I’d turned to in past hurts (child, TV, cable, evening plans) the same weekend that her lovely gifts would arrive.
Before I continue, let me share this.
That even though I’m sharing about some of the goodies that showed up in the box, it really isn’t about that at all. I’ve been wrestling with what I’m putting out into the Internet with my tiny platform and less than a ton of followers but I’m not wanting people feel badly or be tempted to be envious or compare themselves to the six or eight posts I put out on social media each week; they’re just snapshots of what I am living.
And I don’t apologize for the life I’m posting. It’s so good. Really, our lives are blessed and light and full and joyful most of the time. I hope people see that when they follow me and see what I post. I’m not pretending to be happier, to care, to have all of the answer…
But our lives are being redeemed. And we were told they would not be.
And our hearts are closing over the open wounds. Long after we stayed with and around people who kept the wounds open and growing.
We are no longer in the fog of death. Of having our family fractured by choices made in life and then ultimately by a sad, overwhelming death.
And even though this is not how most of our days pass any longer, the sadness comes. It comes when I sense that there is injustice, feigned and insincere acts of love and judgment for making a different, difficult decision than someone might have wanted me to.
But then, comes the words of encouragement. A friend’s heart through art and wisdom. A light that helps lead you back to the path you’ve been on. The path you’ve been trying to show to and share with others. The path that says that it’ll be bumpy from time-to-time and that you’ll feel insecure and uncertain when you take your eyes off of God. The unpaved road that says, “this way” your gifts are leading this way, but read the signs, only a few people will understand it. Only a few people will cheer you toward it. Only a few genuine, loving, grit-filled friends will remind you to stay on that path.
And they will thank you for being an inspiration and encouragement. And they will not think you’re doing it to be a “miss fancy pants know it all” (though you can certainly slip up and sometimes be). The friend will sit down and create beautiful things to share with you. And share with you how you were with her in spirit through some challenging circumstances, urging her on, bossing her – lovingly – into staying and taking one more step.
This friend may get you Easter chocolates that you won’t buy yourself and remember that you collect the Starbucks mugs of cities and states you’ve been to; it’s to remind you of how real it was to her that you were alongside her even though you weren’t actually there.
It’s just so appreciated. That this person – and others like her – would take the time to share that I am making a positive impact on her life. That by living boldly and attempting to share more boldly about my imperfect life, there is something twinkling bright enough to be seen and encourage others to act.
I know what it is. Or rather, Who it is.
And because I spend time in the Bible each morning, it is impacting me to love beyond my comfort zone, to push beyond what I want to share and to give more than I could ever have anticipated that I had the time or energy for. Jesus inspires me. He makes me believe that there can be (AND IS) love worth trusting and giving into and exploring even if it does not bring about the results you hope for. Rather than focus on the “don’t yet haves” and “the why does she get tos” I continue to shift my focus. To serving the homeless, those in my small groups, those in my neighborhood, those in my family, those in my contacts on my phone; each day is a day to demonstrate a greater love. One that may not be recognized from an impressive platform, with an amass of followers, but one that moves me to act and impacts others to do the same.
This is my heart. And my friend saw it. When it got clouded a bit, God had already whispered to my dear friend to remind me of it with a lot of wonderful words in a lovely little care package which I am so grateful to receive.