Monday, December 8, 2008

From an email to a friend--Struggling

I am so sorry about your struggles with rejection. It's always so very hard, particularly when you already struggle with some deep seated feelings of being inherently unlovable. And I know it seems like-and even is- your whole world right now--but if you just hang on and hang in there--things will get better, especially if you start the hard work of trying to heal yourself and to make a place within you to allow healing to happen. I wasted so much freakin' time thinking that if I just prayed more or harder or better then God would fix me--but really I just needed to learn how to allow the pain, accept the pain and really address the awful things which happened to me and really work on acquiring new tools and skills to repattern how I think and act and communicate. Working all that out allowed a place within me so that God's healing could take root. It's why I think the path is narrow--I think most people don't want to do all of the hard work necessary to further themselves along the path towards wholeness, which I think is holiness. God is all about relationship-the Trinity is relationship-the Great Commandments are all about relationship, and we cannot have healthy relationships with anyone if we are relating out of lack, relating out of our brokennesses and weaknesses. Our relationships will only be fulfilling if we relate out of wholeness. That isn't to say that we can't have any weaknesses or that they need to be hidden away and we pretend they aren't there--but rather that we have the courage to bring those broken parts into the light and work on trying to heal them.

I used to think that there were just people out there who were just lucky or blessed or whatever to just be alright--but the honest truth is I don't think anyone is alright. Everyone is a mess. Some people have worked really hard and are working really hard to seek out all they have been created to be (and you know those people when you meet them- they stand out as exceptional people, they are the people who inspire us to do more to reach further and deeper).

Many people have just learned relatively effective, non-destructive coping mechanisms for dealing with their brokennesses, and so they don't seem a mess- but live very superficial lives just going through the motions. I think this makes up most of the people we meet. They seem like things are fine, but they just keep their demons at bay and never become ALL that they have been created to be. These people immerse themselves in work or television or children or even religion and become competent, but they rarely allow themselves to be stretched and challenged.

Others are just walking wounded. They have given in to their hurts and wounds completely. They lead lives of hopelessness essentially. They find the familiar daily agony less scary than the unknown pain of trying to heal and become well. The hurts and wounds become a fortress to hide behind, offering their own form of protection. Often these people ache and cry out for love, but can never seem to get or hold onto that love--which then reinforces the desire to stay immersed in the safety of the pain which is known.

I don't know--somehow when I reflected upon all of that, it made me feel less isolated and alone in my sorrow and hurt. It was as though I didn't need to be born of royal blood or something to get to live a life not defined by pain and brokenness, but rather that it was a universal condition. And that knowledge gave me strength and courage to even begin to try.

I have been all of those people described above, I think. People have often told me that they've been helped by me just sharing my brokenness with them- so while I don't think I am a model of well-being by any means...I think I have helped facilitate others to get further along their own path to wholeness. I think that connectedness with others gives us courage--I don't exactly know how or why that is-but when we don't feel all alone in our struggles it makes them far easier to bear. I think in someways it's that sense of being willing to share the depths of who we are with others who are willing to share their depths. Almost everyone at some point has written something or painted or created something--and has only ever shared it with someone who has first shared their work of art. So maybe our brokenness is in some sense another one of our works of art--and much the same as art, if we do not share it, no one will ever be blessed by it.

So if you are having trouble finding the courage to struggle and let yourself look your pain and the causes of your pain squarely in the face, if you are having trouble doing it for yourself--do it for me. Because without you sharing the depths of your wounds, I cannot grow and be better. And I desperately need to grow and be better.

Have a great, great day--and try to find a moment of true and unique beauty, even it's just the rainbow in an oil slick.


  1. You are so funny Shannon. I can relate to chaos-in-motion, which is one of the reason I began this blog.

    It has allowed me to organize my life and regain my sanity. I keep a copy of this list in my Home Making Binder. It helps me stay on course. I am so glad that you stopped by.

  2. This is all really meaningful to me, Shannon. we spend so much time trying to hide our imperfections, our vices, our weakness from each other and it is so isolating and creates such a sick kind of sanctuary for shame.

    Bearing ourselves wide open to each other is part of the struggle. I need to remember that.