Our stories are ours, but when we give them away that’s when they become much more, or maybe better said, that’s when we realize the truth—they are more. The truth is always there. The more we practice this, the more our seeing gets attuned to truth in the first place.
Sharing is good, however, it’s scary too, I know. So many places to trip up in this process: comparing, and believing our own story isn’t needed as we tell ourselves, “So many other people have already said or done ‘that’ better“. We don’t see how unrepeatable we are. We miss how deeply we need one other, often due to not realizing how much we need ourselves.
I saw this tree the other day. I was sitting on a blanket waiting for one of my children, when all of this light filtered in radiant for a few minutes as the sun moved low. It seemed more like a scene from a fairytale than real life. I was watching its leaves dance and all these shadows and lights playing together. I knew it was ephemeral, so I ran with my camera to capture it before it all passed by.
These temporary beauties we often pass by on our hurried ways stand as monuments to truth. Sometimes we can hear them. Sometimes their age old wisdom and life-giving oxygen goes unnoticed.
This is like when a friend asked me a thoughtful question the other day. I really appreciated the question, but struggled with the answer for a couple days because I didn’t have a “right answer” according to what seemed right to me. It would have been easy to laugh and go on.
Who has time to slow down and think about things that make us uncomfortable?
But, I DO have an answer for my friend and for me, and it feels good—because it’s true. It also makes me feel uneasy as I struggle with it being “enough”—because it’s true. And the plain fact is, truth isn’t always easy to swallow.
The truth about things, in my experience, is often most identifiable by a sweaty-palm-discomfort or edge-of-my-seat-alertness, or sick-to-my-stomach, gasp, oh-my. Truth invites us to breathe deeply and behold. Truth is an alive partner in the adventure of life, visiting the sidelines only long enough to pull us in again. Truth is our friend.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. —Proverbs 27:6
We want to live well. We need to live well, for the joy that it brings, one true moment at a time.
Man, that gets painful sometimes! It’s not exactly a measurable goal. It doesn’t give you a shiny explanation to tell others about. It’s challenging because generally it means patient waiting, not quick results. That just doesn’t seem right sometimes, until it does.
There are moments where the fleetingness of life comes into view for all of us. Often through moments of pain or fear and sometimes joy too. These things, times, strip the superfluous. Days that are harder than others will bring this home quickly. Fears rise up and we get to choose again which way to go, the way of fear or the way of trust?
We want to dance and sing the way the light played and shone through that tree’s hole-y, fragile, beautiful, need-full leaves, for the joy. We’re reaching for the truth the fairytales speak of in these flesh and blood stories we’re living.
Yet the way of trust, and light is also the way of need.
“I need you”, said that lately?
We’ve all heard how Yeshua (Jesus) said to love our neighbor as ourself and how that means we need to actually love ourself before we can love others well. Easy to laugh and go on there. Hard to stop and sit with the uncomfortable truth of what this may really mean. Loving ourself, accepting our real life stories and how much need we feel, doesn’t seem right to us.
But it’s true. We need. We need and we need to say it. Whether in times of illness, pain, loss, grief or simply being another tough day, these thoughts can feel overwhelming…where to begin?! It is easier to go on, label it as unnecessary. Yet need will persist, and sometimes pressed by need, the choices become, let’s say, less multiple choice style, crisis occurs. No more time for dilly dallying or avoidance, whichever we’d like to call it.
But really, that’s the truth of our stories everyday. The gift of need, the light it brings, is the way it brings the most important things into a clearer focus.
I’ve struggled to choke out those words. I need you.
I choke over pride. For instance, with my husband, he loves me good, yet the pride of being the one woman in the world for him these last eighteen years who has supported and adored him heart, soul, and body, bore him six children and found (even to my own surprise) I am able, hasn’t been something I want to give up. I want to be strong, supportive, not sick, not needy.
I don’t want to be sick for a day, definitely not a week and I was crying an earnest, “Lord have mercy” by the time a whole month had gone by. I wasn’t strong, I couldn’t. I couldn’t do any of it. I needed.
Wrapped in the layers of need and even tragedy come moments of grace. Moments where reality rises out of the really fuzzy—light, playing, and dancing.
If we’re in too big of a hurry, we’ll miss it. In the corner of our eye, it’s passing beauty sparkles more like the fairytales we’ve heard, than this sweaty, gritty tale we feel like we’re living. Don’t hurry by, don’t let your discomfort or disbelief steal. Because, it is OK. Need is grace too.
Our simply being is enough. Love waits for us here. The truth of each of our stories is that we are loved—for who we are, not what we can do, or how well we do it. Our needs invite us into an eternal light. It’s the one set aflame in our souls from the day of our birth, we keep wondering about and seeking ever since.
Our perceived inadequacies, our heart aches, our griefs—they are like my friend who asked me that thoughtful question. And her question was an echo of my own. But I hadn’t stopped to listen.
Yeshua said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” -Matthew 9:12-13
I won’t try to explain the mysteries of love and how it transforms us. I won’t look in the visible for the words that have wings and live in the supernal. I will say, I need. Confessing that at every level of my being showed me I need me too.
This is what truth and honesty about our real needs does, it opens new insights, new ways of thinking—beyond our own reason. Humility heals. Our culture tells us it’s a weakness, our culture is dying.
Renewed ways of thinking and living that go beyond our own limited vision is within reach. Through the doorway of need we venture beyond our tired story of excuses—which often happen to sound and deal with real and good, people and causes, deserving even. It’s not that they are not real and good, it’s that we’ll never truly meet those needs until we listen to our own. That’s the hard truth.
We need to stop and listen, stop and breathe, return and rest in the age old wisdom. If we deny our needs, we will deny those of the people we love. If we honor our own, we will honor theirs.
It’s time to fully live. It’s time to give our stories away, like the trees do everyday, just being themselves, giving oxygen to the rest of us. This isn’t as hard as it sounds, just follow where mercy leads. Follow love and kindness. Be kind to yourself…the light passing through is so beautiful.
Friends, your story—your way of making us laugh, making us think, helping us see, especially through the lens of need—we need you, we want you. This is a story about us.
So. Who do you need to share your story with or perhaps your needs? Consider this your personal invitation. Don’t give up when it gets hard, this is gonna be worth it, because this is about love.
Living, growing, needing, wanting, sharing—with you today,
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