BE - I too this photo at an outdoor book market in Paris. Through 2020, many have learned about being rather than doing as we've been in and out of quarantine, shutdowns, and lockdowns. Exploring and adventure doesn't always mean traveling somewhere, join me as I blog and explore!
“Trudge through, you will make it, I promise…” I’ll tell you it’s an honor to be in a a community of people that will stand beside you and say such words, but when you’re in the trenches, sometimes it seems to that you’re there alone. The reality is I don’t always have the people standing immediately beside me to make life “better” or “easier”, but as Jonathan (my boss) put it the other day, “We are here cheering you on from the edge of the canyon you feel stuck in…there is a way out.” <<It’s a good thing I appreciate adventure and a good hike>>
A couple weeks ago, I asked my roommate “do you think conversation needs to be painful to be deep?” She said she would have to think about it, but I was immediately sure there is great depth in joy. I thought of friends being sure I knew “good news” in the most personal way possible, of celebrations I’ve been a part of: births, weddings, art exhibitions, concerts, the dreams of a heart shared for the first time. These are the special moment when another’s soul is laid bare before your own. On the other hand I thought of the news of death, someone sharing a private shame, or a crumbling marriage. The moments when core expectations are crushed and there is little that can console. It got me to thinking… perhaps depth is simply a different word for vulnerability.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ― Brené Brown,
Over the past few months, I haven’t been myself… I’ve been reluctant to try new things, I’ve spent many nights on the couch falling asleep watching Sherlock. I’ve become predictable to the point that I’ve only been drinking Earl Grey Tea, and binge eating Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and JIF peanut butter (thanks mom). I just haven’t been myself. In my last blog, I mentioned the myth that I wouldn’t struggle to adjust. Here’s the thing, I think Brené’s onto something: over the last week, I believe I “bottomed out”. What changed? v u l n e r a b i l i t y. Admitting difficulties, first to God then to others, and not that people solved it but without truth-telling, there wouldn’t have been a listening ear, a word of encouragement or time spent together. Sometimes, I think the dark places are self-imposed because we don’t let the light shine in, its like taking a lamp, turning it and instead of putting it in a visible place, putting a black box over the entire unit. The light can still be shining, but no-one knows it, not even yourself. Vulnerability can start by exploring that box, asking “what happens if I begin to… ?” as the box is lifted or opened, everything changes, because light has been exposed, and darkness cannot coexist with light.
So friends, there’s probably something difficult in your life, choose today to rise above it. I’m proud to say right now I am drinking “munk” [a black tea with vanilla, bergamott, lavender and jasmine blooms]. Then venturing to a Hungarian movie night where I expect to understand all of 50 words all night. Four months ago I would be beyond excited for this event… but even a week ago, this would have frightened me… today I’m thankful for the courage to go, rather than stay in a comfortable place. It blows me away to recognize that I could have chosen to stay trapped, but I’m exceedingly thankful for those that have taken initiative to “cheer me on.”
Take a moment to encourage someone, they may not recognize it but you could make a tremendous difference in their life and attitude. If you’re in the struggle, how can you invite others into these places?