“Don’t talk – don’t say a thing, because your eyes they tell me more, than your words. Don’t go, don’t leave me now, because they say the best way out, is through.” – The Fray
I hate when people tell me they’re fine. If I know you as more than a simple acquaintance, I’d go so far as to say it offends me a little, because no one’s ever just “fine.” I realize that sometimes we are in places that we aren’t ready to talk about, but then say that. Say I’m not okay right now, but I will be soon, and we can talk then. My mom is excellent at transparency and I love this about her. Having lost her brother in December and a good friend only last month, she openly admits when sorrow takes her, but admonishes the darkness with a follow up telling me, “I’m sad right now, but I don’t wanna leave you sorrowful because I promise I won’t stay there long.”
I realize it is not realistic to expect such vulnerability with strangers, but can you imagine what it would do to the social fabric of the world if people were just a little more authentic with their emotions? I can picture the decay of feigned strength with people being honest. Pride, which often gets in the way of healing, would absolutely crumble. Saying I’m not fine … I’m missing my brother, my friend, my spouse, myself? Admonition is a powerful cure.
I think it not unintentional that the word “vulnerability” ends with the word “ability.” It truly is an ability to be able to share what and who and how you are for real … and from where I stand, the world needs practice. Because if we were real, just a little bit more, I think it would give humanity the opportunity to practice being humane.
Today is the anniversary of the day my husband lost his cousin growing up. He was only eighteen when he passed, and though it is decades later, the memory of this wonderful life remains. And I have to commend his mother who shared her raw emotions with details that fractured the banality of words like “fine.” She shared what she remembered about the experience of this day, all those years ago stating, “I didn’t cry, but all of me found its way to the tiniest space somewhere in me that I go when I am beyond devastated.” Then remembered a detail in funeral preparations that completely fractured me, “We needed to buy dress shoes … boys don’t have dress shoes in the summer.” In reading her words I simply HAD to write, I had to thank her for the beautiful example of brokenness she allowed us all to see, well past time and still yearning for her baby. I cry, quite literally in gratitude for her openness and the ability she gave all those who read her words to practice compassion, and to love her boy, for a moment, through her memory.
We are called to be there for one another. That’s what this life is about … being there. Walking with. Crying with. Laughing with. And repeating the cycle again. If you’re not fine, don’t be. If you are, share the blessing of your joy. Whatever you are, be real so that others have the chance to really meet you in that moment, and potentially carry you through.
All my love,