Swimming in Riptides; Unfiltered View Master Reel; and the Gift of Presence
Struggling against an overwhelming plunging sense of grief and disappointment, I make my way down the school hall sauntering slower than a constipated ant. Pasting on an appropriate face, I enter the office and intentionally attend to my business. Turning quickly to make my Houdini exit, I follow two five year old besties out of the school office. (These are two little girls of different staff members.) They had just been reprimanded for not staying put in a classroom after school. Certainly not a life-altering moment for them.
My mind is occupied by the bits of information I just received hours ago. Mentally, I am swimming in a strong riptide attempting to get to shore. Like the brakes of a car skidding to a halt only inches from the unsuspecting pedestrian, my feet freeze in mid-stride. I attempt not to run over these two precious ones who have stopped just inches in front of me. Evidently, they are unaware that I am there.
Instantly my head clears hyperfocusing on the scene in front of me. One looks at the other and simply mumbles, "Can I hold your hand, my heart is sad?" Without hesitating, her friend reaches out and locks fingers with her. No questions. No preconceived ideas. No further explanation needed. Just an unhesitating response. Slowly, they saunter down the long hall. Her friend not letting go. No words are needed. They are giving each other the "Gift of Presence."
Like a statue, I stand frozen. What just happened in front of my eyes is what I need. It's so simple. It's so powerful. It's so overwhelmingly easy. Yet, often I fail to ask those who stand alongside of me for the "Gift of Presence". I make excuses for them. I don't want to inconvenience them. I want to hide my own neediness. I want to be perceived as being strong. Maybe I am alone in this struggle. Maybe you are reading this and you easily say these words, "Can I hold your hand, my heart is ____?" Somehow though, I have a sneaky feeling you are saying, "Me too."
What if we allowed our friends to pick up the unfiltered "View Master" reel of this last month and view it.
What would they see? What are the hidden pieces that could be transformed if we just asked someone to walk with us? What if we laid down our pride? For me, besides the reality of His deep presence holding me and giving me breath, as well as joy, this last month has held the reality of life's fragility; news of more extensive surgery needed; life-altering confessions by friends; suicide attempts by precious souls I hold dear; and disappointment mixed with deep grief over what will not now be our reality? It has also held untold joy and delight each day in so many varied ways.
Why do we feel like we have to be strong; in control; and capable? Why do we hide the reality of our complicated lives; grief; tragedy; and disappointment? We are called to live in community and be His hands and feet to each other as well as this world. Ephesians 4:2 says, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient; bearing with one another in love." In other words, take each other's hands and continue on this journey called life. Romans 12:15 instructs us to "Rejoice with those who rejoice; and mourn with those who mourn." I want to be much quicker to say, "Can I hold your hand, my heart is ____?" How about you?
Today, know that my hand is extended to you. I might not be able to be physically there, but I will hold your hand and walk with you and our Abba. Will you walk with me?
Until We Chat Again,
The Plank-Eyed Girl