I am the kind of person who always has a response and an opinion. I always know what I think about a situation, and if I don’t I think quickly to decide. Until I don’t - until you give me something heavy or something I’ve never experienced before, and then I don’t know how to respond. I don’t know how to say the right things in the right way, but I so desperately want to, because you invited me into your story and I want to honour that.
I didn’t know how to write this. But it needed to be said out loud, and isn't that what this corner of the internet is for?
I didn't know how to make a point that has been made time after time again, but became so real and apparent to me this weekend in a busy and crowded airport.
And so in grasping for words to try and describe our human need for someone to walk with us in recovery and carry the heavy things, I remembered the way someone else described it:
"You'll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips, airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things." Jamie Tworkowski.
You'll need other people.
We forget that truth. Or maybe we never knew it in the first place.
We fear sharing the heavy things because we think they're too much for someone else. At least I do. Or maybe we fear that we're making a big deal out of nothing. Or that our feelings are somehow invalid. Or that there are worse things happening in the world, and we need not fill it with sadness that doesn’t compare. We fear rejection or shame or embarrassment, because we're admitting that we are not okay and in doing so we also admit we need help.
But you’ll need people. As a living, breathing person, you have needed people since the day you were born and that need did not go away as you grew up.
You'll need people to ask you if you're okay - and then keep asking until you finally open up. You'll need people who will sit in the silence with you, because their presence is comfort enough. You'll need people who will do kind things to alleviate stress, and people who will manage the details and take charge when it becomes too much. You'll need people to fill all the gaps that you cannot fill alone, the most important of which is merely listening.
There's something to be said about the relief you feel when you share with someone the burden that has been weighing on your heart. It's the scariest damn thing in the world, to be that vulnerable and raw, until you do it. And then it's the most freeing thing and you wonder why you ever doubted yourself in the first place.
That rush of relief you feel? It's lightness. Because now someone else is carrying the weight you thought you could handle on your own. The help we were too afraid to ask for is the very thing we need to come back to ourselves.
This is nothing new. We know this, and we still struggle with it.
You will need to be that other person to someone else.
I scramble for the right words in the moment and fear that I’ll come up short. But maybe the right response isn’t what we need. Maybe it’s just the connection with another person. Maybe it’s just being that person, wholly and fully yourself, full of life, lacking in the right thing to say, and loving harder anyways.
What I found most beautiful in being given something heavy and hard to carry, was recognising that I am not asked to do it on my own. This is where it gets good. This is where relationships become stronger::
We start a waterfall effect, each person passing along the heaviest things to someone else, leaning on each other for support until the weight is dispersed and we find our way back to okay again.
Our hearts might break for the chaos and pain in the lives around us, but they don't break alone.