My beautiful friend, Sarah, is a gifted writer. Her words can make me smile, laugh, cry. Tonight, little tears pricked my eyes as I read this post. (If the title looks familiar, it’s because I totally lifted it for my own post.)
Okay, to be honest, I was already on the verge of tears. A few minutes ago, Ava got an email from her grandma (my mama) and said to me with puppy dog eyes, “They’re all leaving for the beach house on May 22.”
“They” is my mom, dad, brother, sisters, their spouses, and their 9 collective kids.
The only thing missing is us.
Ava has been having an especially rough time lately (missing people, hormones, sister angst, etc.), and I teeter-totter back and forth between commiserating with her and trying to cheer her up. It’s tough.
So, I was trying not to let the “my whole family is going to be together without us” thing make me cry, and Sarah’s post was NOT the right distraction.
Anyway. I love, love, love Sarah’s idea of getting to know someone’s story, of finding out what they wish we knew about them. Oh, goodness. So, so, so much of what’s wrong in the world could be made right if we just took a minute, an hour, a day to GET TO KNOW SOMEONE’S HEART.
I can relate to Sarah’s experiment with her students. I was a teacher back in the day, and there were so many times when I had a student who just acted up and acted up, and I was so tempted to be impatient and frustrated with him or her, only to find out WHY, to get a little peek into their little hearts and lives. It gave me so much more capacity to love them when I got a glimpse of the struggle they were facing.
The girl who was sexually abused from such a young age. The boy who lived in a trailer with a dirt floor and only owned one ratty set of clothes. The boy whose dad was abusive. The girl whose mom was in a terrible accident. The boy who moved tons of times. The boy who got teased for acting “gay.” The girl whose dad told her she would never, ever be a good enough athlete.
The boy who wrote in his quote journal, “The reason I act like a class clown is so I can make people laugh. If I’m not laughing, I’ll cry. My dad is dying of cancer.”
I am so, so passionate about us loving people, making them feel valuable (or rather, helping them recognize their true worth), and listening to their hearts, their stories.
Is there someone whose story you need to listen to?
Is there something you want someone to know about you?
I would love for you to share if you’re feeling brave.
#IWishMyParentsKnew that I love them infinitely more than my lack of emails & Skype calls convey. That I think they’re the best parents in the history of ever and I don’t know how I got so blessed.
#IWishPeopleKnew how scared I am of leaving important friends out of a post like this, so please just know that I’m not listing everybody I love!
#IWishOurSupportersKnew how much each little gift, big or small, fills our hearts with glee and the realization that God really does provide.
#IWishGodKnew (oh, wait! He does!) how much I wish I would just wake up and go to sleep trusting him (and trusting him all the minutes in between).
#IWishMyLovedOnesKnew that sometimes I miss them so badly I think there’s no way I can make it here in Cambodia without them.
#IWishGabeKnew how proud I am of him and how sorry I am for all the times I make him feel like I’m disappointed in him or critical of him.
#IWishMyFriendKnew that, even though she feels like a failure, she is one of my heroes, and I am waiting on pins and needles for God to turn some pretty crappy ashes into some pretty FREAKING SWEET AWESOMENESS.
#IWishMyCambodianFriendsKnew that being tall and white and from America does not make you more beautiful or special or whatever the heck else. I wish they could see their own glaring beauty.
#IWishPeopleKnew that, not only are we barely-recognizable as vegan these days, but the last 6 times I’ve boiled eggs or made grilled cheese, I’ve walked away from the stove and COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN ABOUT THEM.
#IWishNinaKnew that she’s one of the most amazing nine-year-olds I’ve ever met and that she’s got plenty of time to finish her book, plan her life, and all those other things she’s worried about.
#IWishAvaKnew that she doesn’t have to have the same kind of brain & talents as her sisters, that God has gifted her with some pretty stinking special characteristics, and I can’t wait to see what he makes of her life.
#IWishLiviKnew that being smart may feel like a curse, but it’s actually an amazing blessing, and God is going to use her and humble her and bless her like crazy. (And that I’m sorry when I’m tough on her. I love her so much.)
#IWishOurAbbeyLaneNeighborsKnew that the year we spent with them was one of the best gifts God has ever, ever given us. That we miss them like crazy, and they made more of an impact on our hearts than they will ever know. That we want more than anything on earth for them to fall in love with Jesus, and that we absolutely can’t wait to hug their necks again.
#IWishMyFriendsKnew how much I love long heart-to-heart e-mail updates about their lives.
#IWishNebiatKnew how very much she was loved and how much we all wish we would have known she was hurting, so we could’ve tried to make it better.
#IWishLauraKnew how much my heart aches every single day for our precious Judah and how desperately I beg God for miracles.
#IWishPeopleKnew the tug-of-war that goes on in my heart each day as I try to be a good wife and mom, agonize over each dollar we spend, fail at things over and over, struggle to deal with emotions and help my family do the same, and feel guilty for not counting my blessings.
That is more than enough from me.
Your turn, friend.