Friday, August 22, 2014
Dont Fix Me
There are some moments in our lives that seemed to be etched on the inside of our eyelids or in the walls of our hearts. Moments that change us—maybe we don't know it at the time but they are transformative. The first time you fall in love. The first time you come to intimately know Death. Your college acceptance letter and then graduation.
For me, there are so many.The moment I realized I was entire fluent in ASL. Standing on the balcony overlooking the City of Old Jerusalem. Sitting on the Piazza De Spagna steps in Rome. The day I adopted my piano. Holding my very own book and looking at my name on the cover. Reading bedtime stories to my niece. Playing trains with my nephew. Standing by a river I never knew before and feeling the ground move from underneath me. Getting the 501(c)3 status of my non-profit. And one seemingly ordinary teenage moment when I was about 17.
I remember I was crying on my bed in my room. I was complaining to my mom about how making right choices didn't always mean that good things happened. I had chosen not to drink, have sex, do drugs, etc and as a result I quickly stopped getting invited to anything. And so I sat night after night, in my room, all alone. I was contemplating this whole idea of living righteously. I was in a very egocentric and negative place.
I remember my mom sitting next to me on my bed and just listening. Looking back I am sure it was agony for her to see me making good choices and suffering so much as a result. After letting me vent for a bit she rubbed my back and just sat there while I cried. She didn't say it was going to be okay. She didn't feed me any platitudes of blessings to come. In fact, I don't remember her saying much of anything. She just let me be in my pain in a close enough proximity that if I needed her all I needed to do was ask.
I am still learning from that moment.
I think more often than not when people are in pain we have this innate desire to fix the pain. We want to help. Most of the time we have no idea what that help looks like so we do our very best. The thing is most of the time people don't need your help or need to be fixed. They just need you.
Recently, I opened up and was vulnerable to a friend of mine. He sat and listened, while I made a mess of myself, and gave me enough signs that I could continue. I spoke some hard truths about myself that I know he knew were true. He didn't coddle me, try to fix me, or even really try to comfort me—and yet I felt loved. He let me sit there, tears coming down my face, in my stuff and just be. It was amazing.
Once again I learned a powerful lesson.