I am still reeling from the outpouring of love our family received the other day. It brought me to my knees quite literally. Weeping with snot all over my face. I don't know who coined the term "ugly cry" but I am pretty sure that was what they were referring too. It is like when you are so overcome with emotion you are crying & your nose is running all while you are maintaining something that resembles a smile. Not.Pretty. But a real & raw response to the love that knocks you over. The kind that can only be the hand of God working through others. If you've ever experienced it for yourself you know what I am referring to & if not you can hope that one day you do.
My family has been living in lean financial times for what seems like forever. Although I have vague memories of buying clothes I never wore & eating out all of the time so I know it couldn't have actually been for.ev.er. But 2009 was a long time ago & so much has transpired since then. Jobs have been lost. Houses have been lost. Babies have been born. Bills have been juggled. Moves have been made. And that is just in our little family of four so you can imagine why it feels like it has been a lifetime ago.
As weary as it has been & although some days it may feel like it will always be as this we have experienced things that I can only imagine few do. We have been provided for in such ways that certainly it comes from heaven above because no earthly math works that way. We have had so many anonymous gifts that it is stunning to me to know that so many people act out of the prompts on their hearts to do something for others. It is so encouraging & inspiring to hold everything we have with an open palm, because I, who always thought I was a fairly generous person, never knew generosity until this season. I almost think it must take being on the humbling end of receiving to know what it truly means to give.
A tiny part of the above mentioned outpouring of love I believe is due to the fact that I gave myself permission to admit that it was hard that it was always hard. That the hours were short, the clothes were spent, the shoes were warn & the hearts were heavy. Maybe it is just me, but although I love being real just as much as the next person, sometimes I find myself hesitating sharing what is going on because I fear that I will come across as a "complainer" or because of my pride. I want to hide behind my "grateful heart is a happy heart" t-shirt & keep on keeping on, because I am living the hard I certainly don't want to hear myself talking about it or think about it anymore than necessary. But can we just get over ourselves for a minute & realize that part of sharing about what is going on with us actually has nothing to do with us? It is about the others. The people in our lives who love us & care for us & want to know us. Don't we want to be known? Don't people crave that acceptance to be known & valued by their people so much that they do all kind of crazy things to accomplish it when all that it really may take is by opening up & letting others see who we are & what we are going through? The good, the bad & the ugly. We weren't meant to live such individualistic lives behind locked doors & closed blinds. We were meant to live in the open, on the porches, in community. When we are behind the closed blinds who knows when we have a need & who is there to rejoice & celebrate with us when that time comes? Is there anything better than sharing some fantastic news with someone & having them be as equally as excited about it for you as you are about it? If we don't allow ourselves to share what could be a possibility then when that possibility becomes a reality who is rejoicing along side you?!
I think sharing about what is truly going on with us good or bad is something we all get amnesia about (or maybe it's just me & this whole thing just got really awkward). It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life & give the rote answer that everything is "good" when someone asks. We go through life coasting from one event or errand to the next without considering what the person in the car over is going through. We forget that everyone has a story whether in their family, marriage, job or otherwise. I find myself doing this with my own boys at times. I know they are right there in front of me, but I don't always actually see them. What a difference it would make if we were all to slow down just enough to start seeing those around us. To consider the question before firing off the answer. To pause long enough to hear the answer after we have posed the question. I think it does take courage to let others in. It does take some bravery to remove the mask & share an honest truth. But the thing it we aren't alone. Everyone is going through something. Everyone is having a struggle no matter what it may appear on their instagram or facebook accounts. We can choose what we put out for people to see or hear. But if we hold back not only are they missing out, but most likely we are too. This time of year as so many search for something significant might one of the greatest gifts you give be a bit of yourself?