Telling Our Story
“You see the smile that’s on my mouth
It’s hiding the words that don’t come out
All of the friends who think that I’m blessed
They don’t know I’m in this mess
No they don’t know who I really am
And they don’t know what I’ve been through”
– Brandi Carlile, The Story
We had a rough evening this weekend which ended with one of our kids pouring their heart out, sharing how hard it is relating to their friends these days.
“I don’t know what to say to them anymore!”
“I feel like the only one who doesn’t fit in!”
What I really wanted to say was, welcome to real life. But, I tried to ease them in and talk more about how it feels in those situations and how we can find our way through it. The only advice I had that I felt confident about was this, “My child, you are not in this alone. We’ll get through this together. The best thing you can do is keep talking about it. When you talk about these things you realize you aren’t as alone as you think you are. You need to share this stuff to feel better about it. I will always be here to talk to.”
I read a blog post a few weeks ago that was a great reminder of how deeply we need and were made for community. We were made to share those stories with each other. But, we can’t share everything with everyone. Sarah Bessey says, “Some folks think we need to be vulnerable and transparent and deeply connected with everyone and their dog and Facebook. But that’s just not so. Brené Brown says we should only share with people who have earned the right to hear our story. We’re not made for friendship promiscuity – that’s not community, that’s pearls-before-swine and it’s probably a profanity to your soul.”
So this isn’t a post where I will pour out all the details of my story or my child’s story. Those details are for a different place. But we all need those people, those places to share our story. Even Jesus had his inner circle of friends. And as I reminded my child this weekend, we don’t need “tons of friends” as they shared they wished they had. We need a few good ones, a few ones to walk closely with. And then yes, more folks too, in an outer circle to learn from, walk with, talk with, and figure out life with.
At our church this weekend, we had a time of blessing for the 12 year old youth who had been on a Rite of Passage weekend, celebrating this time in their lives. This time of growing pains and discovery, a time of formation remembering where we are from and where we are heading. One of the families shared how grateful they were for another family in their life and how closely they have walked the road of raising their children together. I felt an overwhelming sense of YES! when they shared. That is what we all need and want.
I have had the privilege of being part of Kairos School of Spiritual Formation this year. I very impulsively decided to try Year One and was blessed to meet some of the most special people. We have now spent hours sitting and talking, sharing our stories honestly…even the hard stuff. We rarely have given each other answers or advice, we most often listen and affirm one another. As I shared last month in our gathering my struggle with find God’s presence in my life, I was reminded that this is part of my life journey- not a wrong path or a “bad place.” I am where I need to be. What a gift to have these folks in my life!
We may not always feel like everyone understands us or knows the messes we have been through. But that is ok. Find your “people.” Find a few who will walk closely and know you deeply. Find those who may not have all the answers for you, but will listen. Find those who can say to you, “You are not in this alone. We’ll get through this together. The best thing (and sometimes the only thing) you can do is talk about it. When you talk about these things you realize you aren’t as alone as you think you are.”