I sat around four tables linked up like a box and read words that weren’t mine. My son had prepared a full outline. Title, subtitle, numbers, letters, an introduction, body and a conclusion. I thought I’d line up my words in the forty minutes I’d be in the car. Seventeen minutes into the drive, I panicked. Thought for a moment about spitting some tears, sucked it up and gave myself a tongue lashing instead. Then I tried to get a grip. Eighteen people, most of them younger than me, ten minutes, what’s the big deal? Just straighten the words a little and we’re good.
I pulled into a plaza called heaven with Hobby Lobby, Ulta, Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks. There were 30 minutes left and I couldn’t find my journal. I could picture the Hobby Lobby endcap with all those gorgeous lined journals and wondered how quickly I could get back to the car with one. I realized that I was stalling and didn’t need a journal, probably didn’t even need to write the whole thing down. Tried to focus on the parts that I wanted to share.
My heart hugged my throat while my stomach said hello to my shoes. I’d just read a quote the week before about self disclosure.
“I only share when I have no unmet needs that I’m trying to fill. I firmly believe that being vulnerable with a larger audience is only a good idea if the healing is tied to the sharing, not to the expectations I might have for the response I get.” Brene Brown
Deep needs called out that day and their echo screeched. There wasn’t time to sew on the button that had popped off my heart. I thought about how to communicate the When, Where and Who. I knew better than to even think about adding the What and the Why.
Not long ago, I felt that to communicate, my story needed to be displayed. In it’s entirety. Every degenerate detail framed in a place of prominence. I thought that I needed you to know so you could understand me. My intensity, the way I fiercely protect myself, my distance.
Thing is, it’s impossible.
To share it all, to be understood, translate the nuances, thicken the plot and help you understand my character
To accurately portray the villan in her entirety, veiled in her white robe covering a dark heart.
To clutch your hand and pull you along with me as we ride waves of deceit and follow tributaries of manipulation
To capture a picture you could appreciate in the dead of night with no flash.
I want to explain to you who I am and how I work and why I fear.
To tell you that it’s not you that I’m afraid of. That she was a filter for so long, it’s been hard for me to learn to see you for who you are. For the war that you’ve been through. For the broken heart that’s yours under the thick veil that you’ve had to wrap tightly to keep yourself safe.
As I sat in the car, I realized that there was no mending to be done in next 30 minutes. I made momentary peace with my unexpected visitor Need.
The screaming started on the way home. Need went off about the meaninglessness of the chapter that I shared. Berated my word choice and misstatements. Told my stomach to extend its visit to my shoes and my heart to skip some rope. Played the ten minute Breaking News story over and over while the words stupid, dumb, insignificant, needy, and poser rolled in a panic across the bottom of the screen.
Those wrinkled and graying words of shame hadn’t created a headline in months. They bantered on through the next twenty-four hours before I shook my own shoulders, sat myself down and said “now you listen here.” When I finally got through to me, I remembered something else I’d heard recently.
“A lack of grace toward ourselves actually hurts us if we are trying to make progress in any area of our lives.”
I thanked God that he showed up in my words no matter how foolish they sounded. That his light sparkled love over the hearts that listened. I pictured faced that sat around the box and remembered words from their stories. The dark broken places where the beauty of God’s heart was evident, like a shimmer of light catching a single facet of a buried diamond. The concert attended in the middle of a high school sports career, the friends that listened to a young woman’s crying heart. The visit to camp where light danced brilliantly, the college group that painted a beautiful picture of grace, the faces of silent foreign children that spoke fluently to a heart, the wealth seen in a homeless man outside a football stadium.
My own heart pounded louder as I remembered the story of a lonely girl fighting her way to Truth. Her demons spoke the same language as mine. Control that’s demanding, frenzy that buries brokenness, and crippling perfection. She and I have both visited desolate dark dead ends that are light years away from Truth. As she shared in ten minutes her journey back to Light, I could see her diamond heart. Because when you’ve been there, you know.
When we share with a kindred heart, clamoring need is silenced by knowing.
When you find a heart that has the same irregular heartbeat as your own, the Need and the Story fade as the Knowing glimmers in His Light.
She’ll leave before me and I’m disappointed that we won’t journey together. But she’ll be there with her knowing heart when I arrive. I’m traveling halfway around the world to see the Light sparkle in small broken bodies and weary caregivers. My storyline will be incidental, but I’m hoping my heart will sparkle just a bit. That I can take the Light that’s filled my darkened soul and spill a little out around me.