“I have no issues.” The boy says.
“What do you mean? You have no issues? Everyone has issues.” I say.
“Nope. Not me. I’m a happy-go-lucky guy. Nothing gets me down. I always stay positive.” He says.
“Yes, but something bad had to happen in your life at some point. Something that broke your heart?” I ask.
“Why would anyone want to think about those things. I prefer not to dwell.” The boy says annoyed.
“I don’t think it’s ‘dwelling,’ I’m just trying to understand you. We all have things that caused us pain. Things that taught us… ”
“Maybe you’re just a negative person? All you seem to want to do is talk about negative things. Maybe you’re the one with a problem?” The boy says a bit too angrily.
I had this conversation once, many years ago. I was young, and at the time, ashamed of my own brokenness. With the desperation of someone on the verge of losing it all I wanted to run from those things that made me human. That which made me me. I wanted to put the past in the past and be nothing but positive, too. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work.
Back then I was too naive, too ignorant, too scared and ashamed to realize that all I’d been through, was really a gift. I didn’t understand that my brokenness was my strength. I didn’t know the simple truth which is: if you say you’re not broken, you’re a liar. Or worse, you’re in denial. And denial always manifests in ugly, ugly ways because no one can run from their brokenness.
We’re all broken. We’re supposed to be. Life is a series of breaks to your soul. Over and over and over again like ocean waves this life, and its heart breaks, break us. Because that’s how it is, and that’s how it will always be; birth, growth, death, rebirth. The more we fight this reality, this cycle of life and living, the more we suffer.
So I ask — why hide our brokenness behind fancy curtains, shiny things, and disingenuous status updates? What’s the point? Just SAY IT.
The poet Rumi wrote, “Suffering is a gift, a hidden mercy.” I believe that. You, nor I, nor our next door neighbor cannot NOT suffer. But where’s the mercy? How are we to find the mercy in all this suffering? Because when you’re truly suffering, all you can think about is sweet, merciful relief.
So where is it? Where’s the mercy hiding, Rumi!? My answer… I don’t think you can find it. I think mercy finds you.
But first, you must submit to the randomness, the chaos, the complete insanity of it all. You accept that you have no control; that your will is not the will that will be done. When you do, mercy finds your sweet, beautiful, broken soul. And when it does, it lifts you up, out of the dirt, brushes you off, shines a light on your path, and keeps you walking.
Back then, back when I was a girl running from my own brokenness I tried like mad to cultivate a talent for controlling my environment; always attempting to decipher the randomness, minimize the chaos, and make sane the insane parts of me. Spoiler Alert: It didn’t work.
Rumi also writes, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” So without the brokenness, there is no light. And what would we be without light?
So to feel the light, to let sweet mercy wash over you, you have to let go. Let go of the way you thought life would be. Let go of the plans you so carefully made for yourself, your children, your future. Because when you loosen the white-knuckle grip on life… you might just find the sweet relief you’ve been praying for all along.
So all I want now, all I have ever wanted, but never knew I needed, is beautifully broken people in my life. I don’t care what you’ve accomplished. I don’t care that you make a million dollars a day, or drive an Audi or own two Breitlings and can bench press an elephant.
Show me your flaws, your scars. Show me your wounds, your perfect imperfections. Show me where the light shines through and I’ll stand there with you; sunglassed admiring the view. No judgement.
Over the last three years I have received a lot of messages from you about how much my writing has affected your lives in positive ways. How much it has helped you heal and feel less alone. If you haven’t sent me a message before, and you feel inclined to now, please do so. Show me your scars. Leave a comment here or send me a message through Facebook or email if you’d prefer to remain private. Speak your truth. Own it. I will not judge you. I will think you’re brave and beautiful and I will be a mirror to reflect your amazing glow.