I want to say my life is not perfect, but that’s not really enough or accurate or what I’m really trying to say. Because we all know that – about everyone. No one’s life is perfect.
What I want to say is my life is actually pretty messy. I’m a lot less put-together, a lot less settled, a lot less calm than what meets the eye. People tell me I have a very calming presence, that it is easy to be around me. But, while I may be soothing for others, I am a torment to myself. I am a terrified mess on the inside, always anxious and unsure, always timid.
I have scars and wounds and a sort of PTSD from the battle of ordinary living. And I suspect you do, too. I have a story – a messy story – and so do you; and stories are meant to be shared.
Because where two or more are gathered, healing can begin.
About eight years ago, you would have found me lying in the fetal position on the floor of my bedroom in complete despair. You would have found me using needles to cut my feet and ankles, and using laxatives to lose weight. You would have found me failing college. You would have found me scared to death that maybe God didn’t love me anymore, and you would have found me listening to my childhood teddy bear tell me I wasn’t even worthy of his love either.
You would have found me anxious and depressed and eating-challenged and a little crazy.
But that was just in my room. In life, outside of my four bedroom walls, you would have found me smiling and happy and healthy and calm.
We all have afflictions, seen or unseen. For some it is physical health or mental health, and for others it is both. Some of us just can’t catch the ever elusive break. Some people experience grief after grief, or tragedy after tragedy, or loss after loss after loss.
But, I’ve also found, we all experience grace after grace. This is the only answer I have for why I am sitting here writing this blog today.
Of course there was therapy, lots of therapy, and friends and family and God and summoning the courage to fight and failure and success and more failure and one step forward and five steps back and another step forward and another and another.
But that’s all rooted in grace, isn’t it?
In one of my recent posts I wrote, “Grace is what we extend to other humans when we acknowledge we are all human.” I’d like to add: Grace is what we extend to ourselves when we acknowledge we are all human.
To suffer affliction of any kind is to be human. No one is immune to suffering. But grace, sweet amazing grace, saves wretches like you and me. Grace saves us, little by little, from our suffering.
When you received that unexpected gift. When you finally caught that much needed break. When you forgave yourself. When that person smiled at you so you would know that someone knew you existed. When things didn’t turn out like you wanted, but you realized what you got was better anyway. When you enjoyed ice cream without feeling guilty. When your friend called. When the doctor said there’s been some improvement. When the nurse reached out and held your hand when the doctor said things have gotten worse.
It’s all grace.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why I am here. I mean, why I am specifically here on this blog writing to you week after week. Most of the time I feel like I am preaching to the choir, or the soloist, I guess – the soloist being me. I need my own words. I need all of my messages about being enough and being myself, being wrong and being curious, and letting go of assumptions and grabbing on to God and grace as much as anyone else.
I am still trying to blossom. I am still, painful as it may be, opening up a little more each day – stretching myself in ways I never knew were possible eight years ago. Writing my way to healing.
But that’s not the only reason I am here. I am here for you.
I want you to see you are hiding inside of your four petal walls, too; but inside is a beautiful flower ready to blossom. Flowers are already beautiful on the inside, but we can’t enjoy their beauty until they’ve opened up. If you need to open up, just know that I am here for you. I will always listen. Even if we don’t know each other, you are safe with me. I think you are beautiful and I am here with so much grace to give.
Let’s blossom together!