Dear sisters (and misters… this has been the request),
I want to write to those of you who are tired- tired of being brave or strong or carrying on, and to those who have a friend in this place.
Yes, in fact, I write particularly to you… you who are seeing this from the outside.
Sometimes we can be told so often that we have strength and what strong people we are for what we have weathered, and while I am not there now, I have had my seasons where even the sound of such words was painful to hear…
I don’t want to be brave anymore, I would whisper, I’m so very tired, feeling the weight so deeply that to sing my words out boldly and strong would not honor how my heart was feeling. Heavy. Burdened. Weak.
I hated hearing that ‘good would come out of this’.
Ughhh. Don’t roll your eyes, Alisa. Just smile and say thank you.
Or my personal favorite, ‘God doesn’t give you more than you can handle’.
It just doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t. Nope.. doesn’t do a thing.
In my case, these words always seemed to flow out of lips of married folks or those whose biggest trial in life was choosing what school their kindergartener would attend. It was puzzling. honestly, sometime I would just look with a bizarre look on my face, as if to say, you don’t have the faintest idea what it feels like to be here, do you?
I want to challenge you here; why is it that you say what you do? Is it because you are trying to bring encouragement and love or is it possibly because you don’t know what to say or what it feels like to be in this place. Or, better yet, does anthers struggles make you feel uncomfortable?
I want to be very clear here. I know most are well-intentioned. I do. I really do, but even ‘well-intentioned’ doesn’t take away the sting. It doesn’t justify saying anything you want.
I am not criticizing words of hope and encouragement and scriptures (as I know many Christians love to do).
I simply ask you to stop. STOP. Stop and think about what your friend may be feeling and what it would be like to receive such words. Is that really what they need right now. In this very moment?
Because I would suggest that perhaps it would be better to…
Use your hands instead of your mouth. Take a stack of their paperwork and help them organize it. Wrap your arms around them and just stay there. Don’t move.
Use your ears instead of your words. Listen. Sit quietly and listen.
Use your feet instead of your truths. Run an errand for them to make their life a little easier for that moment, for that day. Set flowers on their doorstep.
Use different kinds of words, offering What do you need from me right now? What can I do?
Now, I know this will challenge the way some of you think, at least I hope so, but what good is life and love and truth if we cannot stretch ourselves a bit!
And to you who is so very tired… oh to you, dear one, I know.
That is all I can say… I know….
I have been where you are and my heart hurts for you because I know the laments of your deepest parts and the weight of it all. It seems to be endless sometimes, doesn’t it? Oh the details may change, but the pain- the weariness- the sadness, that is the same, dear one.
My prayer is that you will be surrounded by those who will carry you through. Who will hook their arms in yours- one on each side- easing the weight of your burden as you continue to walk. Walk,dear one, walk, for there is hope in seeing your feet move forward.
There is hope in seeing your feet move forward.