What would you say if I told you that I was tired? …If I told you I was lonely? …If I told you I was scared? I am afraid that you would say nothing, or that you would tell me that you do not understand. I am afraid you would wring your hands awkwardly or walk away. What would you say if I told you I didn’t know what to do?
I never say these things to you, because your reactions scare me more than the feelings themselves. I do not want to shatter any idea of me that you have. I do not want you to think me weak. I like that you see me as a passionate woman who loves God and playing bass. I do not like that beneath what you see I feel broken, like a record that can’t seem to get past the same track – the one that hurts, and the sound scratches and jumps and struggles to get away but ends up right back where it began, always anticipating the scratch, the jump and the brokenness.
What would I say, though, if you did respond, and it wasn’t a response of confusion? What would I do if you held your arms out to embrace me? I think I would shrink away. I think your compassion scares me as much as your indifference. I am convinced that you would then walk away and forget me, or that you would wait until a moment when you could escape from me and go back to more joyful conversation.
I don’t know.
Here’s the dilemma I face today, though. I am convinced that you want to care, and convinced that I want to lean on you but not sure of how to begin. It seems that I’ve closed myself off as a habit and that I no longer when it happens, but must fight for the walls to go down. It seems that I am so good at convincing you that I am okay that you will walk away without so much as a word from me.
Where do we go from here?
We’re family, and as much as I feel like the unwanted daughter, I know I am not.
Where do we go, brothers and sisters?
I need to move.
I need you to move.
In pretty, pitiful prose I cry out to you because I’m not sure how else to.
Hold me up when I want to fall down.
Open the doors that I slam shut.
Stand by my side when I tell you to walk away.
I need you now, because it feels like it is just me here and that is my own fault. It is me and God and God put me in this community – in this family – so that we could celebrate and mourn together and so that we can lean on each other.
I want to lean on you.
But I am tired. I am lonely. I am afraid.