By Jenny Smith
We live in a world with a playbook that tells us to act like we’ve got it all together. Somewhere along the line, we decided or assumed or were told this is the only option. No one can ever know how scared we are. Or how confused we are. Or how stuck we feel. All the while, we’re smiling on the outside and telling everyone we’re fine. But we’re not fine, are we? For my readers today who are barely hanging on, this is for you.
You’re not alone. There’s a lot of us who feel scared about an area of our life. We’ve got a relationship that’s not going well. We’re stuck in a cycle of conflict, pain and hurt. We have no idea how to get out of it. There are a lot of us with financial problems. For complex and simple reasons, we don’t have what we need to take care of our families. You’d be surprised how many of us are worrying about our health, our country, friends, issues at work and the future. Or we’re trying to escape the past.
You’re not alone. Isn’t it odd how we all drive these streets or walk the grocery store aisles, hiding our suffering? We’ve all decided the goal is to have it all together. But what if that’s not the goal? What if we told the truth about our lives? Maybe don’t start with the stranger at the grocery store or at the corner of 4th and State, but imagine the worst that would happen if you told someone you trust how life is really going.
I did this yesterday with a small group of friends via the app Marco Polo. I left them a video message on how I was grieving my 5-year-old son growing up and getting ready for kindergarten. Tears choked my throat, and my voice squeaked. But wow, did it feel good to say it out loud. It wasn’t trapped inside
me anymore. And once it was on the outside, I felt better. My friends were kind and supportive. They didn’t tell me to get over it. They knew those transitions can be hard. I felt loved. But I had to show up scared first. With my mess and all. I chose to admit fear and big feelings and what was going on inside. That alone is scary. But my friend, you’re not alone. We’re all a little scared of something.
May we be people who show up scared. May we be people who draw closer to each other, even when it’s difficult. May we be people who choose to trust the ones who’ve earned our trust. May we love each other when we’re barely hanging on. May we allow people to hold us up when we desperately don’t want anyone to help us (but really we do). Through our love, may God feel as close as our next breath. We love each other because we ourselves are loved by the Creator of the Universe. Palms up, my friends.
Jenny Smith is pastor of Marysville United Methodist Church. This newspaper runs a faith column each month.