If there is one thing I’ve learned in the past two years, it’s that sometimes you have to call a time-out on a life and make a commitment to stop being so damn hard on yourself. To stop running yourself ragged with rules and impossible expectations.
Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to feel all the things. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to take a break from feeling all the things.
Sometimes you have to take 2 years off from a lifetime of going to church on a regular basis to re-discover why you even cared about it in the first place. Sometimes you have to move away from spaces of striving in order to create sacred spaces of healing.
Sometimes you get to choose your family and you learn that unconditional love looks a lot like curling up on the couch with a roll of toilet paper and your best friends and then crashing on that couch (way more than once) because they feel like home and sleeping under their roof makes you feel safe.
Sometimes you have to let go of people you love and draw boundary lines to keep those who have repeatedly hurt you and demeaned your humanity from hurting you any further. Even if you still love them. Even if you wish things were different.
Sometimes you have to stay in bed for three days straight because it physically hurts to breathe – to be alive.
Sometimes you fall in love and feel weightless and breathless and hopeful and like you are finally home. And a whole new compartment of your heart awakens and you completely re-discover yourself in the process of discovering another person.
Sometimes you fall into a darkness so deep that you wish the night would swallow you up whole and never again release you to daylight.
And sometimes you find your way back from the abyss and grow strong and whole under sunlit summer skies after the longest winter and a hopeful, yet timid, spring.
Sometimes you decide to stop trying. And you curse more. And you don’t try to suppress your anger or bottle up your tears because that is what you have been doing for years and your body is breaking beneath the weight of every pent up hurt, fear, doubt, and injustice.
Sometimes your body reacts to the stress and torment of secrets and shame and silence and you show up to work with hives all over your body for an entire week. And people ask if you are allergic to certain foods but you know that really, you are just allergic to the pain of rejection and to the expectation that a lifelong love will never be an option for you.
Sometimes you deconstruct your faith and build it back with a stronger foundation, a deeper empathy, a greater degree of compassion, and less of a concern for being right in an argument or debate.
Sometimes you smile, tearfully, at the words “Love Wins” because that is exactly what it does – it wins.
Love wins us back from the darkest, cruelest, most painful night.
Love wins us towards a hope more compelling than any longing we have ever dared to dream of or imagine.
Love wins us into community and acceptance and gratitude and joy and healing and wholeness and life abundant.
Love wins us back from the places which Fear abducted us into – stealing from the very fabric of our souls – and Love wins back the resolve and strength we thought we had lost forever.
Love wins us back our daring, our dreaming, our desire to radically care for others.
Love wins us into a place of believing in and seeing ourselves for the divinely inspired creatures of glory that we are.
Sometimes you have to relax your white-knuckled fists and loosen your grip on the things you have always held so tightly in order to discover what pieces are actually worth keeping – to see what parts of our hearts and lives remain when we stop trying so damn hard to keep everything together.
Fear never wins. It only holds us hostage to the terrifying abstractions of our fragile minds which tell us lies….lies that we are unworthy…that we are only what we do…that we are unlovable…that if we stopped striving, it would all fall apart.
And sometimes you have to let it fall apart – brick by brick – in order to find out what actually held you together all along.