Today I want to write about something I’m pretty sure I can’t put into words. I realize that sounds crazy and it probably is.
But isn’t that the fascination behind writing–that desire to brush against the ineffable? To come as close as possible to defining the formless?
It is for me. And since Christmas is the time of year when we make lists of the things we want, I started thinking about those desires of our hearts that we don’t write down, specifically the longings we don’t realize we have until something strikes a chord within us.
I’ll try to explain what I mean with a story.
I was texting with one of my best friends, who happens to be male. We were making a plan to get together. I don’t remember what the occasion was, but the plan wasn’t coming together. After I brought up a possible conflict, he replied: We’ll figure it out.
You may read that as insignificant or vague, maybe even dismissive. It struck me differently. It said to me: You’re not alone. We’ll tackle it together. It said: Don’t worry.
I wanted to cry. And like I told a friend recently: tears are always a sign that a truth is expressing. What was true for me–and I didn’t realize it until that moment–was that I felt alone. I’d been in single mom mode for so long and couldn’t afford to admit that I didn’t feel supported, that I was full of worry.
My friend’s simple text felt infused with masculine, take-charge energy and that was something I desperately missed. Seeing those words caused a piece of my armor to fall away. I realized that the gift I needed to give myself was permission to ask for and receive help from others. I needed to be reminded of the power of we. I needed to be okay with not being able to figure everything out on my own.
Whew. Who knew four little words could uncover so much? If you’re a writer you know, of course, that a single word can carry the power to bend minds. And if you’re a human paying attention, you know that inexplicable moments are sometimes the only ones you truly understand.
So I wonder: what are the little heart stabs that you’re pretending not to feel? What are they telling you? What needs are you afraid to admit that you have?
We all want to feel strong, and admitting lack or longing makes everyone feel weak. But the gift is that, in the very act of admitting, the need begins to be met. It’s you giving to you.
And if you’re not sure yet what you most need to receive this season, don’t worry. You’ll figure it out.