"Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn."
- CS Lewis -
A couple Sundays ago, I was able to steal a few moments of quality catch-up time with one of my favorite college students. I've known her for years, and have valued her friendship since we met towards the end of her freshman year of high school and my last, but over the last few years the physical distance between us has granted very few solid heart to heart conversations.
After walking into the fellowship service a few moments late, I found myself immensely distracted by the preceding chat.
It wasn't that we had discussed an earth shattering or especially thought provoking topic, yet her sheer honesty as she examined herself and commented on her own reactions and views on her world right now was absolutely incredible. We've always traded the "spot light" in our time together, but this time I just listened. And grew a bit jealous at her ability to be so genuine.
This is something I have struggled with for many, many years, especially when I work with youth. I fool myself into thinking that that my extra years (….) of experience and retrospect give me some leg up on life. Ha.
My heart has always gravitated towards arenas of service and ministry, and the recurring lesson I have always struggled to learn is not just to give, but to be ready and open to receive (and most often the intangible). Whether you are handing out sandwiches, scrubbing a floor with Brillo pads, or building intentional relationships, it's not always what you have to offer, but what you will take away from any particular exchange or experience.
As I listened to this beautiful girl talk, I envied her ability to just be HONEST.
Something I haven't done since my accident more than three months ago.
Every time I get approached at church by a loved one or curious individual, I put on the "happy face." The one that says I have everything under control and I'm doing ok. The one that since I laughed my way across the ocean with a broken leg won me the title of "trooper." The one that falsely reflects the courage, strength, and faith that people admire.
So maybe for the first time since I got home from my dream job, I'm going to be honest.
I'm terrified. I'm angry. I'm lonely. I'm restless. I'm frustrated. I'm hurting. I'm confused.
But you all knew this long before I did.
And I'm going to be ok.