That which is most personal...

8/07/2017 01:10:00 PM

You should never be able to feel one of your body parts.

Am I right?

For example, a seemingly insignificant paper cut. On an average day, you'd never feel your right-hand index finger. But then boom, you're opening a card, you cut your finger and then wah-la, you can actually feel your finger all day long. Right?

As I get older, I notice I can feel a selection of my body parts at any given time: my right ankle, my left knee, my hip...

...but today? I can feel my heart, too.

You've been there.

You know what I'm talking about.

There are days when you feel all of the feelings.

Your otherwise light and airy heart, which you normally can't feel, today feels heavy.

On this slightly dreary midwestern Monday afternoon, while my kiddos are playing at their grandparents' house with their cousins, I am sitting at the round table that Craig and I have had since we bought our first house — a gift from his Mom — and my heart is just heavy.

I think the weight of life purposefully pushes us down so that when the lighter days show up we appreciate them that much more. We cannot know light if we've first not met darkness.


Life is not static. Nope. There are peaks and valleys, highs and lows, twists and turns.

There are amazing hair days.
And then there are not-so-amazing hair days.

NOTHING remains the same. (That's both a comfort and a point of distress, no?)

So this weight... this heaviness that we all feel from time to time, it's ok.

It's ok to have all of the feelings.


I'm reading a book right now that I'm loving. (I'll write more about it later.) It's one of those books that when you read through it, you nod your head, you underline, you tear up up a bit. (Oh, I do love a good cry.) I've purposefully slowed my rate of reading down, as well. I don't really want this one to end.

In the book, I underlined this quote: "That which is most personal is most universal." (Henri Nouwen)

I'll let that sink in:

That which is most personal is most universal.


The stuff that we don't want anyone else to know about. The stuff that is embarrassing, or painful... the most personal of the personal... EVERYONE goes through it. It's what we all can relate to.

Isn't that comforting?


In the past few weeks there has been so much happening in the periphery of my little world: yet another friend was welcomed into the My Mom Died Club. I have dear friends fighting for their marriages, their jobs, their health... and even some, their lives.

It can all be so much. Right?

But dear friend, that which is most personal is most universal.

We're not alone.

We weren't meant to go it alone. Nope. We're to cling to one another, support one another, share with one another. Listen to one another. Relate to one another.

Don't clam up and do the whole, "I don't want to burden you with what's going on in my world" thing.


That isn't allowed.

As I tell my girls, "If you encounter a situation that's bigger than you, find a trusted adult. They'll help you."

Same for me.

Same for you.


Perhaps this heaviness is a gentle reminder that I, that we, need to s.l.o.w. down and listen and feel for those around us a bit more often, too. Of course it takes time to listen, to be present, to ask...

...but I'm at the point where I'd rather be listening to a friend than scrolling through social media. In fact, maybe we should all do a "scroll and text" the next time we find ourselves mindlessly thumbing up and down.  I challenge you to scroll and wherever your finger stops, kind of like the big wheel on The Price is Right, you must send a message to that person. Just a simple, "Hey you - I was thinking about you. How are things?"

And when they respond, we should respond, as well. We should maybe dig deeper. Be the friend we hope others will be to us.

Everyone needs to feel supported and encouraged. And I think the only way the heavy hearts can heal is by looking outward, right? (And upward, too.)

So, if you have the feelings, it's ok. You're not alone.

That which is most personal is most universal.


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