Imagine with me for just a moment. Imagine you’re just peddling your bicycle down the street just there. Slowly riding ahead. Gliding forward. Smooth as glass.
Then suddenly! Without warning a pothole appears, out of nowhere!
At an awkward angle you sorta sprawl out onto the warm pavement. Instantly you stiffen. Furious.
You, of course, are livid!
But then you laugh a little chuckle. Relax. And lay your head down. This is fine. This is nice. This is comfortable. It’s time for a nap anyway. But, of course, after feeling your breath for just a moment, you pull yourself together and get back up. You dust your pants off. Check your bicycle for major fatalities and continue your commute.
When you get to the coffee shop you walk over to the counter and order the regular, of course. You then dabble with your phone as you wait. Eventually you hear your name called, then find a seat. Upon sitting down, however, you note that there is something inside your right butt pocket. With a confused look on your face you shift your weight onto your toes, and, pushing your upper back against the chair-back you lift your bottom just enough to slip your hand in and pull out the slip of paper. Two papers actually. What sparks even more confusion is the fact that your name is sprawled across the front of the first page. Confused and curious your flip the page and read.
Upon noticing your fall I realized it quite possible that you might need a bit of encouragement. For you see I too know how it burns. That sting… But anyway. Enough dilly-dallying. This is for you, friend.
Oh, and uh, apologies if I get stuck in a ramble. I must admit it’s been a minute since I have tried this. So without any more jibber-jabber, here I go.
The point of this letter is to pass on a few gift to you. Two ways of life. The power of living via a particular sort of story.
The first gift is an invitation. You are officially invited to embrace the idea that you are accepted.
If we could just learn to embrace. To live from this truth. Can you even imagine? If we could just stop!
Stop trying to prove that we have it all together! If we could just stop trying to convince God, and those around us, that we can do it. That, I imagine, would be breathtaking. Imagine the kid who is just fed up with feeling alone everyday, mocked and bullied, and now he is on his way back to school with a gun in his backpack. Imagine how that course of history could be altered if suddenly one of his idols came walking down the hall and gave him a high-five. Then went on to ask, “What’s up?” And instead of just walking on to the cooler tribe. What if the older kid were to hang with the younger and really get to know him. Ask questions. Laugh with him. Can you imagine? What would happen if the hurting child began to catch a glimpse of what it’s like to be loved. What would happen if he began to realize that he was not alone? That he was cared for? What would happen to us? If we came to believe this?
Can you accept the gift?
And now, as promised, the second gift. Gift two is an invitation to stop judging yourself. Stop trying to prove, even to yourself, that you know that answer. That you can do it. Whatever “it” may be. You don’t need to prove or even believe that you have the answer. Just breath.
Sometimes we’re so busy running around that we run all out of breath.
So stop it!
Everything is okay, even if it isn’t.
You don’t need to, in fact you can’t, fix it. But that’s okay. You can’t fix everyone! You can’t make everyone’s dreams come true. In fact, if you are not aware of this you may not be able to make anyone’s dreams come true. You may even prevent everyone around you, you may keep them back. Don’t try.
Let it go.
You’re not dead. Yet. Haha. And I’m not saying that in a dreary sort of way! No way! I’m saying you’re alive! So what are we going to dream up in the beautiful gift that we have?
And also, I’m not suggesting that we play pretend! That we pretend that everything is okay. No way! Often, forgive my obscene language here, but quite often life can be a shit in the woods. With twigs and thorns getting into all our tender places. This is merely an invitation to breath, to embrace your life amidst the struggle. To learn to breath while you’re out of breath. You’re not dead yet.
Now I know. This is ridiculous. All this talk about
“You’re not alone, even when you are.”
“You’re not dead, yet.”
“You don’t need to prove yourself to anybody. Not any person, not your dog, not yourself or even God! (Whatever that may mean.)”
It’s all a bit insane, right? Right?
We’re all taught to just stand up and grow some skin! To be tough. To protect ourselves. To pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. The problem, though, comes in when we don’t know when to stop.
But what if that’s the only way forward. To grow? What if we have to question the normal assumptions?
These invitations to accept that you’re not alone and that it’s not over yet, maybe they’re our chance to stop killing ourselves. To start living together. To hold each other. What if it’s an invitation to love fully? A call from love it(/them)self! What if this is some sort of transcendence? The discarding of our need to constantly show everyone that we have the answer, and the invitation to start listening. What if the “work of God” is the invitation of love. The call to band together.
May you experience the gift of community. The embrace of love. The call of peace. And the invitation of grace.
Carefully I folded the papers. And placed them back in my right butt pocket. Finished off my coffee, slid back onto my bike and peddled home. Keeping a wary eye out for that pothole.