If you and I, dear friend, stranger, fellow-fragile-earth dweller, were meeting for coffee (although for me, it would be tea, always tea, with milk, and strong), I’d probably start off a little nervous. We’d sit down and make small talk, which has this way of always making me feel a bit small. I might laugh a little too exuberant, or overcompensate irrelevancies. I’d stir the tea leaves, rather than meet your eyes.
But at some point I’d stop, look up, and I’d say it as clear and as complete as I could. ‘You don’t need to carry as much as you think you do.’
There. I’d exhale, take a sip of tea, and savour the warmth.
This life can be cold, I’d continue to speak to you. Anyone whose been around long enough, even that confident good-looking person owning the street in gym clothes and high head, has their own particular version of low. And we all know what it’s like to feel raw and exposed, especially in those rare quiet moments when you fear you are the only one who feels it, the pressure of that quiet, heavy burden you bear.
You aren’t as alone as you think you are.
And then, I hope, I’d bare it all. Because in letting others in, we open the door to letting love out.
I’d confess (perhaps with uncertainty) how the last few days, weeks, months, have been hard for me. Change has been challenging. Patience has been thin pulling. Children have been complex. And those whom we hold closest to our chests, can squeeze the delicate fibres of our hearts in a way noone else can. It can feel like there isn’t the time in the day to chase after them, or at night to catch up from them. Who ever knew deep love could feel so much like deepest vulnerability? And parenting could feel like obstacle as well as miracle.
I’d tell you, dear one, (maybe with my fingers twirling the salt shaker, or the sugar jar ) how I’ve sometimes had questions without answers, and how even prayer has seemed, at points, more like a stutter than a stream.
And then, I’d look up once more, because there is no strength in shame, and I’d grasp your hand. I’d probably cry, because I’m a crier, and I know you can be too. And I’d say this through the tears. You don’t have to carry as much as you think you do. You can pass it over.
There. I’d exhale once more, longer this time. I’d sip my tea cup again, although by now I probably would have finished. I might tip the pot for more, and realise only then that it was empty.
And then I’d say to you, slow and sure: Know this. Know only this. He’s never empty. Even when you feel that you are. Your limit is the very thing designed to point you to his limitlessness.
I’d tell you how those times I felt most up against it, he met me within it. How the times I felt furthest lost, were often the occasions I ended up being widest found. And that that fear I experienced, was his way of opening me up to what mattered most.
Lastly, as we pulled out our chairs and fluttered with our wallets, I’d want you to take this with you. Time is short and life is loud. Sometimes the strongest truths are those that come in breathless whimpers. The best way to be strong is to be weak enough to reach further than yourself. And let it all fall where it can be caught.
And finally, remember this. The one thing you don’t want to miss is the way he wants to carry not just your fragmented pieces, but you too. Yes, you. Always.
image deposit photos