I’ve been thinking of what I wanted to write about the Briggs and Al run/walk we did last weekend in memory of Owen. The day was beautiful … Perfect really. We had a cookout in the parking lot following the walk. I was both healed by all of the orange and inspired by the Children’s Champions who walked on our team. It’s astounding what we can do when we come together.

That’s what I keep thinking … It’s amazing when we come together. Individually we are flawed, weak and limited. But together – amazing, unimaginable things happen. A friend stopped over to pick up a book for our upcoming bible study. While our kids played at our feet, we shared parts of our life stories that we don’t usually talk about. My past before I knew my ex husband, the reason why she got back together with her fiancé … We shared parts of ourselves that don’t come up in casual conversation. It was meaningful.

This moment was not planned – there was no coffee date planned to catch up on life, but rather, it just happened. I opened the door to my home, I welcomed her in and then I listened and asked questions. The rest just happened.

What encouragement I received knowing that I wasn’t the only one … I’m not the only one who is afraid, who has made bad choices, who dreams of being in love and who wants to sick it out until the end. I realized, in those moments on my stairs, sometimes that’s all we need to make it through the day – to know that we aren’t the only one. There is someone else going through the same things, feeling the same kind of pain. If they can do it, so can I.

I find rest in finding someone who understands. I find comfort in knowing I’m not the only one. We are born into community. We live together. Sometimes it’s all we got … And something’s it all we need.

Sometimes it’s terrifying to open up to someone about the hidden parts of ourselves. The fear of rejection and judgement can be padlocks on our hearts. After losing Owen, pain to me is real and it’s every day. I don’t want to say that I love to find broken people, but I’m not sure how else to say it. I feel like I can let my guard down and say, “yep, life really sucks sometimes!” Because it does! Good people get cancer, innocent children die every day. It sucks! But to be able to connect with someone, you’ve got to be able to go there. How can you connect with someone who doesn’t understand the hurtful parts of you?

I don’t want perfect people in my life, I want perfectly imperfect people. I always use the analogy of weightlifting. When trying to build muscle, you are literally tearing apart the fibers in your muscles. When they heal they are stronger than they were before. That’s why you are so sore after weightlifting. Your body needs to heal and then it’s stronger. Same is life – I get torn over and over, but each time I survive, I come out stronger than before.

Bottom line? We need each other. We need to connect and most of all we need to be kind. Treat each other with care – we are all fighting our own battles. Just because someone looks happy and strong on the outside, doesn’t mean they feel strong on the inside.

Love, Mel

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