What does that mean? It means, there is power in someone telling you you’re not alone. There is power in you being vulnerable and telling someone else that sometimes you feel what they are feeling. There is power and life-giving love in breaking down the walls of perfection and identifying with someone else’s fear, pain, failure, insecurity. There is power in being real.
I had a friend drop by my house to pick up some things. It was late (after 9pm on a school night), and my family had all gone to bed, but as she stood in the doorway for the hand-off I looked in her eyes and could see a heaviness and she looked in my eyes and saw a sadness – and we both worked our way into the living room for a chat. We started off sitting on the edges of our seats; her with her coat still on, not sure if there was time or energy for more than a quick check-in.
One stilted sentence at a time, it came out. She had received a call from the school. One of her children was in trouble. This on top of another child that was struggling to find his way in a classroom environment. Work, and school, and home, and special needs, and Church obligations, and LIFE were conspiring to inundate and overwhelm and all of it was bursting forth from her on an exhale… And then she breathed in and I saw what looked like uncertainty cross her features. Was that too much to share? Was that safe to share?
So I exhaled and said, “Me, TOO! I am overwhelmed and overworked and freaked out about life’s pressures, too! My kids are great and I try so hard, but when they fail they fail spectacularly and it’s hard not to feel like it’s my fault and my failure as a parent! My son has to go to Summer School…my daughter thinks I’m totally out of touch with reality…my baby thinks yelling ‘Shut up’ at everyone and everything is hilarious. My life. My life!”
And then I breathed in and looked at my friend. And we both smiled.
Nothing was resolved. No circumstances had changed. However, we were no longer alone in our struggles. She got real, then I got real, and both of us received what we needed, most.