Friday, May 13, 2016

[In the arena]

Wow, guys! I didn't realize that so many of you were still here. My heart smiled with each comment you left, whether here, on Facebook, or in a text. Thank you for loving us still.

My heart has been pretty tender this week.

Mother's Day does that more than most other days.

I see post after post of Skype calls home from missionaries.
That still really rocks me to the core.
I try so hard not to be jealous.
Or angry.
Sometimes I'm successful.
Usually I retreat for a while instead.
Allow myself to just feel.
Eventually, I can be happy for those moms that get the phone call home.
It just takes some time.

On each of the past two Mother's Days, I have one friend who, in the midst of her excitement to talk to her own missionary, has taken a moment to text me - a simple text - "I wish they had Skype in Heaven so you could get a call today too." The text that always brings me to tears. Tears of gratitude for her concern, her friendship, her love, her unselfish heart.

Other texts come - they range from long thoughts to simply "Love you - thinking of you - praying for you" kinds of texts. Texts from friends who have lived our story with us.

And this year, two new friends touched my heart so profoundly. One simply wrapped her arms around me and said, "I just love you." The other pulled me into a hug and said, "You're so brave." And while I certainly didn't feel completely brave - I felt exposed and scared and angry and sad - I showed up at church anyway.

Because that's what we do.
We show up.
We show up when we feel brave.
We show up when we feel scared.
We show up when we feel angry.
We show up when we feel sad.

Some people see only our brave, but seem to instinctively know that there is fear under that bravery. Fear and anger and hurt and grief. And sadness. They encourage our brave by allowing those other feelings a place as well. By not walking away when those other things show up so much more glaringly.

Others choose to only see our sad.

I know that's the easiest to see.
It's so much more visual than brave.

You know what I've learned though?
It takes bravery to be sad.
No, that's not quite right.
It takes bravery to show sad.

"I've learned that the people who love me, the people I really depend on, were never the critics who were pointing at me while I stumbled. They weren't in the bleachers at all. They were with me in the arena. Fighting for me and with me.

"Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it's a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands. The people who love me and will be there regardless of the outcome are within arm's reach. This realization changed everything." - Brene' Brown

So why do we do it?
Why do we allow you to see these parts of us?
The parts that are terrifying and uncomfortable for both us and you.
Why don't we choose to show only the brave?

"We simply can't learn to be more vulnerable and courageous on our own. Sometimes, our first and greatest dare is asking for support." - Brene' Brown

I have a friend who is going through a very deep and personal trial right now.
It would be so much easier for me to stay on the sidelines and allow someone else to fight with her in the arena.
But she needs me.
She needs what I've learned.
What I've experienced.
And so, I'm stepping into the arena.
I'll stand with her.
I'll fight with her.
And for her.
Because she shouldn't have to do this alone.
None of us should have to do this alone.

Are you willing to step into the arena with someone?
To stand with them instead of walking away?
It doesn't have to be a grand show.
Choose to engage instead of disengage.
To love instead of judge.
It's hard.
Sometimes it's dang hard.
Chances are you'll probably cry.
I can almost guarantee you'll be uncomfortable.
No one ever grew without a little bit of discomfort.

Please pray for us.
For me.
For my family.
And for my friend.
The story is hers to share when and if she chooses.
But I'm pretty sure that Heavenly Father will know who you're talking about when you ask for strength, guidance, courage, peace, and comfort for "Deb's friend."
He's pretty great that way.

Guys, we need each other.
We all need each other.
You can give someone courage by standing with them and fighting for them.
And in the end, you'll be surprised by how much that act of standing changes you too.


Alison Wuthrich said...

I don't have words that come remotely close to expressing my profound appreciation for you, every vulnerable bit. You made a difference for me today.

Melissa & Jeremy Otero said...

Deb as I walked with my dad in the cancer fight I somehow knew you were there with me. You were my strength when I just couldn't go on and for all of that I love you

elkgrandma said...

Ah Deb, how we love you and your sweet family! I've been sharing a journey with a sweet Ward friend who lost her 3 yr old granddaughter to cancer the Friday before Mother's Day. I can only imagine the pain this day brings those who have lost children, and never get that call. I only know that Kenton is close to you, never far away, and that he is there wrapping his arms around you to comfort you when there are tears. Much love, a little late, and Happy Mother's Day. That title is still yours for eternity - thank you Heavenly Father for this glorious plan! Love always, Karen Peterson

Kristy McDonald said...

SO glad you're back! Thanks for sharing your thoughts so eloquently with all of us. We love you guys!

Unknown said...

Debbie, Thank you for expressing feelings that often most of us cannot put into words. Heavenly Father "hears" our feelings as well as our words and above all he loves us unconditionally in thoughts unexpressed and words spoken. A teacher and friend always, Linnea

Cathy Peterson said...

I'm so glad you share!

Cathy Peterson said...

I'm so glad you share!

Maren T. said...

Your words have always had immense power. So happy and grateful to be reading them again.

kate said...

You have beautiful words. And.. you ARE brave.

Kerry Peck said...

Thanks, Deb. Your words, your example, your strength are a light for us to follow. I can't adequately express how much I appreciate and love your writing and your courage to share so we can feel and understand. Thanks for being brave -- it helps us be brave too.