“Indulge me a moment, if you will. This morning I am deeply aware that for the first time in at least 10 years I am not part of a worship team, on a church committee, the lay leader of a congregation, a seminary student preparing to be a pastor, leading a bible study or support group, or on the pastoral staff of a church. The beautiful bridal shower luncheon I attended this weekend also reminds me that I am not a wife or mother. And, while you might want to encourage me to look on the bright side of so many of these "I am not" statements, I really just need you to try to understand what it feels like to be in this place.”
I really needed to get it out of my head and felt called to post it on FB for some strange reason, so I did. Of course fear of having overshared hit me. But then, something amazing happened.
I was blown away by the emails and direct messages I got from people in various stages and ages of life who related to the stage of life my post described. People that I assumed “had it all together” told me about the restlessness they felt, and the feelings of disappointment and failure. And, that they survived to go on to other great things even when they weren't sure they wanted to do so.
I felt better knowing that even the best and brightest people that I know have felt the weariness and dissatisfaction of being in the not-there-yet, am-I-on-the-right-track, where-am-I-going track. They told me that they felt better that someone they knew said aloud the things they had been holding deep within their hearts.
So, here’s what I know for sure:
- We need each other’s stories. I have said it before and I will keep saying it. I need to know that sometimes you wonder if your life matters, and yet you keep doing the things you are called to do. You need to know that behind the bravado and confident veneer, I can sometimes be pretty timid and sensitive. Community is where healing happens.
- Sometimes, the best thing we can do for each other is pull up a chair look at our friends and say “Well, shit. That just sucks.”
- True friends will not give you platitudes because it makes them feel better. They understand that sometimes you just have to sit in the mess and feel it. Once you have done that, the healing process can move forward.
- There is adventure around the corner – even if you can’t see it right now. My mother says “Nothing stays the same forever.” And, she’s right.
- You are never too old or too anything else to start a new chapter.
- You are stronger that you know you are. God knows that about us, our friends know that – even when we don’t. Rest in that.
Press on friends, keep telling your story. I need to hear it. And, I promise I'll keep telling mine, too.
(2 Cor 12:9)