I am sitting in the homiest coffeehouse I've ever known, with mountains rising up into my windowed view all around. For a week, I'm nestled just east of Rocky Mountain National Park, surrounded by behemoths my eyes can scarcely absorb without question.
The sole purpose of this trip is to rest. That's my only agenda item. To breathe. To enjoy. To absorb. And yet, something inside of me will not go quietly.
Some feeling coming on too strong again and again, not taking the hint that I'm just not interested right now, thank you for the offer.
Some nicked layer of my heart-skin, throbbing with the stinging of a week-old slice that won't seem to clot.
It's annoying, to be honest. I wish it would hush up and heal already.
But I'm forced to pay attention to it because it just won't soothe, not for nothin'. And I am realizing that this sliver has been open for quite some time now.
A breeze through the mountain tree line brushes it. A song rubs against it, feeling like when you catch a particularly bad hangnail on your shirt. Someone's back looks familiar and it throbs again, tangibly.
What caused this breach in the protective cover of my heart-skin? It looks different for each of us.
But we've all got a nick. Every single one of us.
Some of our nicks are deeper than others.
We've just pretended it's more like a paper cut than a stab wound. It may look a centimeter wide from the outside, but it's inches deep, nearing marrow and nerves that were never meant to be touched.
Don't say you don't.
It won't make it go away, just like staying in bed pretending the sun hasn't risen won't change the fact that the day is happening outside your window.
My nick is one phrase:
You're not enough.
It's unsettling how many different things can irritate this wound of mine.
Rejection. A snide comment. Getting left behind. Not having a spot saved. Getting no-thank-you emails from potential employers. A comment on someone else's Instagram. Someone not having the space in their day for you. Interruptions. Even the most well-intended acts of comfort. Ignored texts.
For those of us that feel deeply - really, really deeply - it seems like no matter how much we smatter our sliced hearts with ointment, they always dry out and crack open again. And if you don't consider yourself a feeler, I can almost guarantee you have your own experience with nagging pain like this. Maybe you've just never been sure how to call it out.
So we get stuck in ruts.
We have a few really good days where we are grateful and laughing and excited and adventurous, and then we have a really tough day where all we can think about is that darn heart-hangnail. We get frustrated with ourselves because we're frustrated. At the end of the day we're a tangled mess of emotion and we don't know what to do with it.
The best way I know how to describe this feeling is confused. We know we feel something, and maybe we knew how to pinpoint that feeling a couple days ago, but it's gotten lost in translation.
We're sad and we don't know why.
I'm here now. Well, I was earlier today. Before I sat down with an intimate friend and really hashed it all out.
Oh, believe me, friend. The feeling is still there. It still sort of feels like someone poured rubbing alcohol all over a sliver I can't even see.
But I called out the stinging. I took a shaking finger and with the help of my companion I was able to say, "That's what hurts. That's the source of it. There."
You're not enough.
You know what I think my real problem is? I am so damn forgetful.
I know that this is my nick. I have known for awhile now. But I forget.
I forget that Satan is gonna do all he can to make this nick feel like something worth nursing, worth saying sorry for, worth believing I'm deserving of.
I forget that I can take away the power of the sting with just one simple move:
I'll let Ann Voskamp do the talking for a moment.
"You are the bravest when you speak your unbraveness. You are the safest when you are the realest. When you are the realest about your brokenness - that is when you can know you're most beloved."
We forget that we have each other. We let feeling misunderstood carry us through our days, telling us no one gets it, telling us we're alone.
When we let another human see our nicks, we open up doors for healing that we could have never unlocked on our own.
Sometimes we think we should have a solution to our pain. We self-medicate, self-soothe, self-promote, self-everything.
But have you ever thought about how you've never actually seen yourself?
Sure, you can look in a mirror. You can look at a picture of yourself. But you've never actually seen yourself though someone else's eyes.
And no matter how pixel-perfect, how crystal-clear, pictures are never quite like the real thing. They either don't do the subject justice, or they are so convoluted with editing tricks that reality is masked, covered up, changed.
Think about it. When you look in a mirror, you can't see your whole self at once. You can't even look at both your eyes at once.
But another set of human eyes? They see the real thing. They can call attention to the truth of it all, to the reality of the subject as it is right then, in that moment, in its wholeness, the way no picture or mirror ever could.
If you're like me, you forget how not alone you really are. You go about your day, doin' your thing, taking care of business as usual. But something in you is resentful at the end of the day, because you don't feel like anyone's really on your side.
But I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty right now.
You are not alone.
You're just not. Even if you hadn't had any interactions with any other human beings for decades, you're not alone. Because in the words of Patricia from P.S. I Love You (just watch it okay),
"So now, all alone or not, you gotta walk ahead. Thing to remember is if we're all alone, then we're all together in that too."
Someone out there needs who you are.
Someone out there has been looking for you for a long time now.
Someone out there wants to wrap their arms around you and call out your broken places and help you get them healed - not just hold them together for the time being.
If you haven't experienced this, as tough as it is, you've got to go find it. You've got to go find it and you've got to believe it's out there. You've got to believe this life needs you to live it, and that people need you to be a person alongside them.
I can tell you something else with one hundred and twenty-seven percent sureness.
You will not heal without Someone.
Yes, I mean other people.
And yes, I mean the ultimate Healer.
One more thing I know to be true. A million times over.
You will not truly find Him without them.
There is hope. There is healing. Our nicks are what makes us human. And they are meant to drive us to relationship.
So when you don't know what to make of it all, just find someone. Ask if they have a little bit of time to listen to you.
And then go find someone who needs listening to.
I guarantee, your nick will be a little less noticeable and a little less controlling.
"But He saves the needy from the sword of their mouth
and from the hand of the mighty.
So the poor have hope,
and injustice shuts her mouth.
Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves;
therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.
For he wounds, but he binds up;
he shatters, but his hands heal.
He will deliver you from six troubles;
in seven no evil shall touch you.
You shall know that your tent is at peace,
and you shall inspect your fold and miss nothing.
Behold, this we have searched out; it is true.
Hear, and know it for your good."
(Job 5:15-19; 24; 27)
Meet the writer.
Hiya. Wheels, here. I enjoy all forms of espresso & days spent in the mountains of Colorado or the prairies of Kansas or the beaches of SoCal. Also, Royals baseball.