To My Friend Who Is Struggling

Someday, you will be past this and you will look back and thank God that you’re on this side of the storm, and then you will thank yourself because it turns out you are stronger than you knew.

Dear Friend,

I sat across from you today. You are struggling, you are tired.

As looked into her eyes I recognized the exhaustion and the fear. I recognized the question, the one that asks am I going to be okay? I remembered a dark season in my life. I remembered when I was so undone with anxiety that I couldn’t take the kids to the beach or even make it out of the house.

I remembered when I had no hope.

I remembered a friend who showed up every single day on my doorstep. She’d ask, “What are you afraid of today?” I’d tell her and she’d listen. She’d really listen…that was the gift. When I’d run all out of words I would sit shaking on my porch trying to feel the sun that beat down all around me, but never touched my skin.

Then she would say, “You are okay, your kids are okay. This is just fear and anxiety,” and I would cry until all the tears were gone.

And the next day she’d be back, because I’d already forgotten the truth.

Sometimes we need truth holders in our lives because our grip is not strong enough.

Sometimes we need to stand with each other until the sun comes up.

Right now, you are low. Right now you feel like a fragmented version of yourself. It’s okay to fall apart. When you are low, others are high. When you are broken, others are okay.

We have all been undone. We have all been undone, and then we get put back together piece by piece, and when we find someone else who is suffering we understand deeper and wider. We can hold space for them because we get it.

So friend, I take your hand, like she took mine, because we will walk through this together. There have been so many times in the past I’ve watched friends suffer from a distance because I wasn’t sure what to say, and I was afraid of making it worse. I made their pain about me, and I still cringe when I think about it. I wish that I’d showed up. I wish I’d been brave.

I’m done letting my fear keep me from staying close.

I will not do it perfectly; in fact, sometimes I might do it awkwardly and terribly. I will probably say the wrong thing. I will probably make you mad.

I’m okay with that now.

I will listen to you until you’re all out of words. I will listen, and I will listen, and then I will take your hand because you are not alone.

I will take your hand because you are going to be okay.

Whatever you do, do not forget that there are songs still left to sing. There are joyful moments coming around the corner that will take your breath away. This, my friend, feels like everything. It feels all consuming and that hope won’t ever come, but it’s not true…

The sun will come up.

You will laugh again. You will laugh so hard that your stomach aches and tears spill out. I promise. Things will be funny again.

You will have moments again when you hold your kids and your heart breaks into a million pieces, because your love is fuller and more overwhelming than you ever knew it could be.

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Those are the moments that it is worth hanging on for. They are the moments that are worth more than a thousand years of everything.

Someday, you will be past this and you will look back and thank God that you’re on this side of the storm, and then you will thank yourself because it turns out you are stronger than you knew.

Joy is coming. It can’t resist you. You can’t resist it. Even when everything is so dark and dingy and hopeless, hang on, because it will come.

For now, when you can’t hope, I will hope for you.

When you can’t see, I will see for you.

And one day soon you will feel the sun again on your own.

Love,

Your Friend

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This post originally appeared at The WONDEROAK blog.

Jessica Johnston
Jessica Johnston, her husband and her four kids (Malachi 8, Scout 6, Oaklee 4, Haven 2) live in the heart of Montana. She’s passionate about community, adventure, family and KEEPIN’ IT REAL in the process. Her writing has appeared on Mother.ly and Scary Mommy. She loves sharing laughs with you at wonderoak.com. You can follow her there, or “like” her page on Facebook’s WONDEROAK Blog.

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