I can look back at some of my most happiest of times as well as some of the lowest moments and see how I’ve changed, see how I’ve stumbled, see how I grew… Life. Sometimes I just shake my head.
As I went through my decades of journals, I started taking notes on the lessons I learned. They weren’t always easy lessons. Many times I suffered heartbreak before I learned my lesson. I might not have seen any good coming out of some circumstances back in the day, but I can see it now. I found myself saying, “Awww, that’s why I had to go through “that” particular thing.” “That’s why that friendship had to end.” That’s why I didn’t need that particular guy in my life.” “That’s why my inner circle is small.” “That’s why I had to go to Michigan State University.” “That’s why that project failed the first three times.” “Ohhh, I never thought I’d get through that.” “Oh, now that was too funny!” “That’s why I got stuck.” “That’s why…”
Often times the real issue is not what we are going through, but what we are coming to and how our life’s lessons can prepare us to stand in amazing places- equipped and fortified- stand in places we never thought possible and how we can help strengthen someone else, if only we’d share when the opportunity calls for us to do so.
People need to know that we live real lives with real issues- that everything is not always perfect and that’s okay. It validates their struggles, their pain and their ability to overcome whatever they are dealing with.
Life is full of fake people who act as if they don’t have a problem in the world- people who would have you believe that they’ve been good all their lives. Those types of people rarely help anyone. In fact, they hinder.
Years ago, one of my closet friends told me she left church because she didn’t belong. Everybody there appeared perfect and her life was a mess. She felt that she could never lived up to their standards. She felt shunned by the folks she tried to befriend. She wasn’t “Churched”. She lacked discipline. She lived her life any way the wind blew. In addition, she partied on some Saturdays. She struggled with drinking every now and then, she was sleeping with her boyfriend and at times she was known to let out a curse word or two. She wanted to make some changes in her life. She tried church. If one person would have connected with her and been honest with her- If one person would have said, “Girl, I know. I’ve been there. Let me tell you my story. Let me tell you how I made it through.” It would have made a huge difference. She might not have continued to struggle as long as she did.
So, I’ve learned to listen and to share when appropriate. Why? To help strengthen and encourage someone else. It gives added purpose to my personal experiences- my good days as well as my pain. And because it is good for the soul.