May 18, 2010

the gift of 'me too'

What I'm about to tell you is nothing novel. Its not new or exciting or earth-shattering, but I think it is true. And I think it is beautiful. If that's as far as I ever get (if I even get that far), I'm fine with that.

C.S. Lewis puts it this way:
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "What! You too? I thought I was the only one!"
Only recently have I begun to grasp the power of the words "me too." Some of my greatest relationships even at this very moment I can legitimately trace back to those two words. I remember more clearly than most things the day or night when we sat for hours, walked in the park, stayed up too late, drank coffee, ate lunch - when we discovered the me-too. There is typically a moment when I'm sitting with the other person and I realize I have a decision to make. I feel a slight twinge and I think, Am I really going to share that? Right now? With this person? I take a tiny moment and do a quick vulnerability risk assessment (the findings of which, thankfully, I tend to ignore). My stomach is doing flip-flops before I have even decided for sure if I am going to let the words leave my mouth. Am I going to talk, or throw up? I'm honestly not sure. 

It's an "I struggle..." or an "I've lost..." or an "I'm afraid..." 
It is vulnerable, tender, intimate.
And it's real, above all, which is perhaps the very scariest part.

Wrapped up in the spoils of our shame I think we start to feel like we are the only ones with pain and brokenness and ugly parts. For a very long time, I had pain that I literally, no exaggeration, thought no one could or would ever understand. I was alone there... until one day I wasn't. Until I did a vulnerability override and said what I most dreaded saying. And finally, at long last, I was met with someone else who felt like me. Another human being sits with me, hears me, sees me, and responds with a timid and maybe even somewhat reluctant, "me too." It was beautiful.

It's still beautiful. Because when it happens, I can almost literally hear shame breaking. Loneliness shatters like the glass I knocked off my nightstand the other morning when I reached for the alarm clock in a panic. You can feel your heart change in a similar manner to that of the Grinch's, which I have a very vivid visual for thanks to Dr. Seuss. Relief fills your body and your shoulders un-tense and your face breaks into a smile whether you want it to or not and maybe you even get a little emotional in your eyeballs. It is a great gift, and one that not just anyone can give you. Which makes it all the more special.

I am deeply thankful for the me too and for the comfort & liberation that comes with it. I hope sincerely and with great fervor that you are given the same gift that I have been given. I hope when your tummy starts to flip and words spill out of your mouth that someone looks at you, looks at your ugliest parts, your deepest hurts, and says:

Me too.
You are not alone anymore.
I hope you can hear shame break and loneliness shatter.
And I hope you get a big fat glimpse of Jesus in all of it.


Elaine said...

This "me, too" stuff makes me think about unpacking our suitcases at Gram's, the lake, etc. and finding we brought/bought the EXACT same clothing (down to brand, color, etc.). I love you!

Susan Hemphill said...

Seriously... these posts blow me away. I love this! Lets hang out more and find out more of our "me too's". Love you!

Cal said... too. for real.

Unknown said...

Can you write a book? I think I would really like to carry your words around with me everyday so that I can reference them at every possible opportunity. Reminiscing about some "me toos" over here. :)