You, who are stressing,
You, who are hurting,
You, who are exhausted,
You, who are overwhelmed,
You, who are lost and confused and worried and feeling broken and eight hundred shades of crazy today,
I want to apologize for the world that has overwhelmed you — and I know, I know; it’s not my job to apologize for that and we should all work a little harder to not say “sorry” when it’s not our fault. But today, I do, I do need to say it. Over and over and over. And I will carry the weight of the world for you today.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry, friends, brothers, mom and dad, sisters, strangers, self.
I’m sorry that you’re in so much pain that even walking isn’t an easy action anymore.
I’m sorry that being sick has become an old friend, constantly present.
I’m sorry that you feel guilty for letting people down, not following through, never feeling accomplished.
I’m sorry that exhaustion floods your body no matter how much rest you get, like receiving a giant beautifully wrapped gift with nothing inside.
I’m sorry that people don’t seem to understand a lot of the time; they try to relate, they try to empathize, but they can’t.
I’m sorry you feel lost and alone, even sometimes in the presence of the people who know you most.
I’m sorry that it seems no one has an answer when you desperately need even just one word of comfort, and it seems that everyone has a million words of advice to shove down your throat when all you need is a pair of arms around your shoulders and a whole lot of silence.
I’m sorry that it feels like we are chained to reputations and to-do lists and that evil liar of a voice that says “you’re not doing enough; you are not enough.”
I’m sorry that you can’t see yourself the way other people do – like photo filters, they see the highlights, while you only see the shadows. I’m sorry that your beauty doesn’t ricochet off the mirror when you stare into it, hitting you in the face with the reminder that you are a striking, captivating, perfectly crafted being, created in imago dei – the Image of God.
I’m sorry that we make each other mad with our differing opinions and decisions. I’m sorry that conflict exists because if it were up to me, there’d be none. Because it hurts, a lot.
I’m sorry that no one can make these hard decisions for you. I’m sorry that no matter how much wisdom and guidance you seek, you still feel in the dark about what to do, and the only decision you want to make is to climb into bed with a good book and a steaming mug of something comforting, but the world is calling – expectations scream your name – and you are expected to answer.
Expectations. I’m sorry that we’ve all let these taint our views of life. I’m sorry that I expect so much out of you all the time; I’m sorry that I can’t reach your expectations of me all the time. I’m sorry I let you down. I’m sorry that I’m not the person you need me to be sometimes, and I’m sorry that you feel inadequate too sometimes.
I’m sorry that school, work, and people expect you to move mountains every single day. It doesn’t seem like anyone remembers that we are all fragile little humans with cracked, bruised hearts that need to be cared for a little more. And work and school sometimes just feel like places that have forgotten what it means to be a human, and what it means to be a human who hurts who also takes care of other hurting humans.
As silly as it sounds, I think if you and I were sitting down over coffee right now and we had both subconsciously taken off our armor of small-talk in order to have a real conversation, the first thing I would ask you would be, “Do you feel human right now? Or do you feel like a walking conveyor belt of generic responses to generic questions, spitting out the right answers, and throwing away raw emotions and vulnerability like they were the broken parts instead of the truest things about you?”
And you might look at me like I’m an alien, but that’s okay. Because I’d rather try to ask the ridiculous questions than let them sit and scald my heart.
I’m sorry for a lot of things that I can’t fix. And I’m sorry I can’t fix them, because if I could, I promise you that I would. So here I am; I’m just here, typing these words, reminding and relating to the things that are weighing us all down. And now what? What happens now? We have these things to deal with, and sometimes it feels like so much and we feel so incapable and too exhausted to face them. So then what? Ask yourself that today: then what?
There’s no ribbon to tie these thoughts all together, because there’s no ribbon to tie this life all together; at least not yet. But we have hope for that.
And I have hope that your pain will subside.
I have hope that your stress and exhaustion will finally be overcome by eucharisteo – joy and grace and thanksgiving – and peace and trust. It will always be a struggle, but I know that the light overcomes the darkness.
I have hope that these seasons of being overwhelmed will give way to seasons of abundant blessings and sometimes fearsome blessings and sometimes blessings-in-disguise and the ability to look back on these times and say, “Oh yeah; that was a blessing. And that, remember that? A blessing, also. And that – that darkest moment where it felt like not a drop of hope could be found anywhere – it led to this. And that is a blessing.”
And I have hope that we will all wake up soon and realize that we need emotional self-care as much – if not more – as physical self-care. I have hope that we all remember to take some mornings nice and slow, turn off our phones, crack open an old book, underline some good passages, write our thoughts down, and let our minds slow down for a while.
And I have hope that your expectations and your to-do lists and your worries and your fears and your anxieties and your temptations will be shattered and destroyed and buried. Because this is true: you’re currently in a battle and you’re fit for the fight, but the fight is not easy. It’s absolutely exhausting, at times terrifying. But do you know what fighting means? It means you’re not giving up. Not giving in. You know the end result; with the help you’ve been given, you will win. Don’t give up.
And I have hope that our hurting, broken hearts will be renewed and we will feel beautiful; we will be reminded of the beauty that has been there all along.