^(that’s for everyone who has been there for me this year. Because I was a mess and you were incredible. I promise to be more dependable next year. Probably)
Maybe if I tell it as a story…
I wrote it boldly on the first page of a journal I never wrote in again. “honest.” Because it was cool to pick a word of the year, and I picked that one. Looking back, I might have picked “brave.”
He stopped me on my way to my car. “Hey, so, just so you know…my story isn’t so nice.” I took a deep breath. Let it out. “Mine neither.” Which is how I ended up sitting against the sliding glass door, looking at the ceiling and telling the whole story for the first time. Letting the words be honest, and feeling so afraid.
As the rest of the year happened, I was so glad you knew. It was so much harder to hide, and I was so afraid at first. But there was so much grace.
In 2013, I jumped off a cliff. Twice. I got hit by a car. I moved. I went to church alone. I went to a counselor alone. I spent Maundy Thursday in a slimy tunnel under campus. I got an icee in downtown Dallas at one in the morning. I wrote a bunch of angry letters, and I apologized a thousand separate times. I learned to drink without making a yuck face. I pulled an all nighter at Prayer Awakening, and then drug a bunch of kids to a basketball game. I played sardines in the church and was scared out of my mind. I hugged a homeless man with my pants inside out while running to an Easter carnival. I also accidentally stole some tables from Woodway, for which I abjectly apologize. Mostly, I bought a lot of Taquis.
In between all that, I was brave. It wasn’t the big things, it was the rest of the things. The places I stopped pretending I was okay. The times I asked for help.
So you’re up on a cliff. You’re alone, looking out on everything around you. Listen to me: jump. You have to jump. Let yourself fall. Let yourself need someone to catch you. This is where grace happens.
I jumped off a cliff in 2013, and the first time I swore the whole way down. But you can’t spend your whole life up there by yourself. You can’t be perfect forever. Being honest means being brave.
Here’s what they don’t tell you: it’s a gift. All of it.
I found all of you here at the bottom. And these honest, real conversations have restarted my heart. And it’s so much less lonely, here with all these other fallen people.
This year started with the best five months of my life, followed by seven of the hardest. But then you wake up on a morning in December, look back, and realize that the pain was a gift…maybe even more than the joy.
You are loved here. You get to learn to be made whole again. You get to need God in a new way. To need the body of Christ in a new way. You get to stop trying to wrestle everything into shape. Sometimes you have to have your hip dislocated to make you stop fighting. You walk with a limp forever, and you never forget the grace of a God who will not let go. It’s a gift because we weren’t promised tomorrow. And it’s grace to be reminded that God is in charge, not us. And He uses our pain, and nothing is in vain. Which means we can keep hoping.
Life is a gift.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Let it out. My story isn’t always nice. But it’s full of grace. I’m glad I finally learned how to tell you. All of it.
Because you’ve been amazing.