“Life and light are greater than the darkness.”
“It is okay for someone else to struggle. Furthermore, it is okay to not fix it / solve it / discredit it.”
For the Love by Jen Hatmaker.
Do you ever put a book down and get side tracked… for months…? Gosh I’m so bad at finishing books, but here I am again, chapter 7, Tell the Truth. It’s a simple concept but it is OH so hard. I don’t necessarily believe that Hatmaker wrote this chapter in the way that I’m interpreting it today, but it hit me hard.
As I sit in quarantine for the second week because of the corona virus health recommendations I am scared. This is how I’m interpreting Hatmakers request for truth. Y’all! I AM SCARED! And I’m pretty sure that’s ok. I’m scared for myself and my family for our finances and for our health.
I truly believe that if we allow each other to be scared and stand (6 feet apart) with one another then we will get through this pandemic.
Maybe it’s just me but I have always felt as though I must be strong. If I am strong in adversity then I will get through it faster… am I as strong as the facade I put up? Is it helping me grow as an individual to fake strength?
“It is good to remember in community, and even better to practice individually, that light trumps darkness. If you’re concealing a dark struggle, you guarantee it’s power if it’s shrouded in secrecy. Buried, it is free to hinder you, grow in your imagination, and truncate your future. It can hold you back, destroy relationships, and break your spirit. It can absolutely wreak havoc on your authenticity, as the inside contradicts the outside day after day, month after month. Secrets are wild and free in the dark.”
Is my fake strength wreaking my authenticity? Do you even believe my strength is real? Are those that are close to me wishing that I’d just be honest with them, and maybe more importantly, myself?
A friend posted on FaceBook today that the suicide hotlines have skyrocketed. I suppose that is a good and bad thing. Good that people are reaching out to someone in order to get help before a terrible next step is taken. But an absolute tragedy that they don’t have people in their lives that they can reach out to before this hotline. Y’all! Check in on your friends and family. Y’all! Be honest! Tell the truth! Don’t fake strength because of a fear of vulnerability. If you are the one getting the call from a friend that is being vulnerable your job is simple. So much more simple than we often make it. Hatmaker says, “Pulling something difficult from it’s dark hiding place and into the light is innately healing. When we bear witness to this bravery, we should simply receive it gratefully, knowing the heavy lifting is already done.” It is absolutely NOT our job to fix our friends! Help, yes, but not fix.
Hatmaker goes on to say, “Then your good people blast their light on it, shining truth and love and compassion and understanding, and it withers even more. With every I am here and I’ve been there and You aren’t alone and God has this, your scary truth gets less terrifying, less overwhelming, less paralyzing. It becomes fully exposed with no secrets left to threaten you. You are 2 Corinthians 4, because although this darkness pressed you so hard, it did not crush you. Perhaps it struck you down, but look at you: You are not destroyed. You see that in the light. You are still standing. If you are still breathing, there is hope.”
I am not destroyed! I am scared, but that will not end me. These “uncertain times” will not crush me! (Anyone else tired of that phrase, “uncertain times”? Sorry, anyway…) If we are open and honest with each other then I think we will come out on the other side of this actually stronger, not fake stronger. If we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, then we link arms together (metaphorically of course) and remind one another that You aren’t alone, therefore we will be stronger together! (That was my If Then Statement that I learned back at Veritas in my 9th grade Logic class… how’d I do?) If we are together, shedding light on one another’s darkness, sharing truths over one another’s lies the darkness has no place to go but away! “The darkness has not overcome the light, and the light is ours.” When you walk into a dark room and turn on the light does the darkness stay? It is impossible.
I want to do my part during this scary COVID-19 pandemic. While my friends are seemingly far away just because we cannot see each other, I still want to stay close. I have been texting and Facebook messaging people every day. The conversation might not be long but at least connection has been made. I know that when I get a Thinking of you text it warms my heart a little.
Earlier tonight my dad mentioned that he has noticed the polar opposites come out of people during these uncertain times. People are showing their true colors a little… can we train our colors? Yes, I believe we can. Dad and the fam were discussing the posts that are just so dark and negative are probably coming from a place of fear and hate – hate for the virus maybe, hate for the rules being forced upon us, but I think they’re also coming from a deep fear. So let’s be honest people. Instead of shrouding you’re social media posts in dark negativity, that is reaffirming the darkness in your own hearts… let’s refocus our colors. When our true colors show don’t we want them to be beautiful, life giving colors? There are a few companies and small businesses that are going to suffer greatly, because we all are suffering right now, but instead of pointing out the horrors around them, instead of pointing fingers at those in charge and those making the new rules and placing blame on them (we are all trying our best right now, especially them), instead of fear and hatred based words they are shedding some light. Inspiring hope to those that will listen and to all of us that need it. Inspiring people to respond in love. Encouraging others to post about the hero’s in our healthcare system and encouraging laughter and joy. That is what I want my true colors to look like. Bright and beautiful, life giving, inspiring colors.
“Just tell the truth because it sets us free. This first domino unleashes a chain reaction of liberation. If we tell truth in the small things, our honesty is well-practiced when stuff gets dire. This creates a sincere community for which the earth is starving. In a world full of the fake, artificial, pretend, and superficial, we have the sustenance to nourish our starving hearts.”
I hope these little smiling faces inspire joy and spread some light into your day!
Figure out how you can inspire someone today. Figure out how you can shed some light today. Figure out who needs a friend and be the friend they need to the best of your ability. Let’s band together as a culture right now and come out on the other side of this pandemic with some refined beauty.