Black Coffee & Weak People

“I’ll take a coffee.”

He begins slowly pouring it into the white paper cup. “Room for cream and sugar?”

I shake my head, “No.”

He looks slightly surprised, but says nothing as he pops the plastic top onto the cup.

If you’re going to love something, learn to love it exactly the way it is.

This is my thought about coffee, about life, about people.

We’re always trying to add things, change things, make them sweeter and easier to swallow.

I don’t want to expect anything different than what I’m being handed. This is it. This cup of coffee, this moment, this human being. This is what’s in front of me and that has to be enough, it¬†should be enough.

I want to be enough as I am.

I realized that when I was working in the living room in my pajamas the other morning. Our house is consistently knocked upon by visitors and I’m just learning how to open the door.

No running to the mirror to check my hair, no throwing the little messes into the laundry room. I want to be enough, just as I am.

When I’m angry, in denial, in my sweatpants with two day hair. When there’s just not enough energy in me to do what needs to be done. When I’m disappointing people, disappointing myself, I want to know that it’s not the end of the world.

I want you to hear that from me. I want you to know that there’s some grace for you, when you can’t stand for another second. If you just need me to grab your shoulders and say: just rest, you have the time you need to figure this out,¬†I’ll do that for you.

It’s okay that you haven’t figured it out yet. Everyone is rushing you and you’re overwhelmed with the idea of having to figure out where one more piece fits in this puzzle…but¬†you don’t have to do it¬†today. You don’t even have to do it tomorrow.

There’s going to come a day where you do have to get up, make your bed, and make a decision. You can’t stay here in your comfy chair forever.¬†But today, if you need to rest, I’m here to tell you¬†that you’re still enough.

In your weakest moment,¬†you are adequate.¬†You’re allowed to get tired and frustrated. You are allowed to take a break. You are allowed to let people down, because¬†you are not perfect.

You are still human. You are still fragile. While you are wildly adequate, stunning, worth loving you are still just made of dust.

And you can’t carry it all.¬†You can’t be everything to everybody all the time.¬†You can’t¬†be every single piece to every empty corner of a puzzle.¬†You’re just you, you’re just one person and that’s all you have to be today, just you.¬†And you can be weak if you need to be, you can cry and laugh until you can’t distinguish which is which anymore and you’re just letting out whatever it is that’s been burrowing so deep inside of you this week.

Black coffee. Frustrating days. People who are broken.¬†I’m learning to love them, hold them, take them exactly as they are, nothing added and nothing else expected.

We’re enough today, even if we’re at our weakest, we are adequate and worth love even if we still haven’t figured things out.

 

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The Tightropes of Transparency

“DON’T LET THEM PAINT YOU RED.”

She reminded me of when the cards told Alice that the white roses were a mistake. I pulled pain from the cracks of my heart as I thought about how many times I had let them make me feel that way. I let my mind replay all the times they hurried to paint me red before I caused problems.

Somewhere between buying coffee in Blacksburg and chasing the sunshine along Charlotte’s horizon, I realized that it was time to surrender.

I started to understand that it wasn’t about needing stability. What I really needed was to love some strangers and to throw tangerines at trees that stood in line along the lake. I needed to sit in a crowded parking lot, five hours from home, and tell God that I was nervous and rattled; that my hands seemed to small to hold everything He’s been handing me.

I’ve got words to say and I know that you do too. I can see it in the way you pause in conversation, it always seems like you are holding your breath and waiting for the right moment. But I wish we’d just say them.¬†I wish we would stop being afraid of greatness and of the price you have to pay to hold it.¬†Because we were always meant for it, but we’re all too cheap to really go after it. The price seems to high; the price¬†to be the people that do the hard things, say the uncomfortable things, stand in the awkward gaps.

I want my hands to cramp from writing letters to strangers. I want to stay up late and fill pages with words that say you’re holding a promise that will probably change the world.¬†I want to know what it means to be unafraid of the absurdity that comes with really living.

Because they’re trying to paint all of us red.¬†They’re trying to change us, shame us and tell us that we were never good enough to knock knees and bump elbows with those who are believed to be the most important people in the room.

But we’re enough.¬†We have always been enough and I want to love you enough to tell you that.¬†I want to¬†be foolish enough to make you look me in the eyes and hear it. I want to grab your hands when we’re face to face and soak you with the kind of affirmation that unnerves the lies you’ve believed. I want to love you enough to say the words that send your insecurities running out the door. I want to make you forget all the ways your heart has been steeped in pain and show you that there are still a few people left who aren’t afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve for you, because you’re worthy of that.

I want to love others with such force that I am out of control, reckless and downright dangerous in my prayers for them. That I’m so affected by the footprints they’re making on the world that I’ll move mountains and lead armies to see them win their wars.¬†That I’ll find myself fighting for them on the carpet of my closet, my knees forming imprints and my tears making altars.

I really want to stop being too intimated to paint the room with the light that’s been put inside of me.

I want to stop thinking that I’m far too weak to ever really fill in the lines of future history books.

It’s going to be the irrational, senseless, outrageous way that we sing 90’s songs at the top of our lungs, and make facial expressions that cause the Starbucks barista to explode in laughter. It’s the little ways that we’ll learn to love people. It’s going to happen when we stain the the kitchen table with overflowing bowls of ice cream. It’s going to be brief moments that turn into hours that are laced with words like “you’ve got what it takes”¬†¬†“i’m proud of you”¬†and I’ve got your back.”

It’s not always going to be the big things that take us to the heights. Most of the time, it’s the smaller steps we take that are going to teach us how to trust when walking on the tightropes of transparency and relationship. We’re learning how to love and it’s going to be our love that changes things.

It‚Äôs also okay to admit that they were wearing some hideous shoes….

You were always free to walk away.

From the person in the photographs in your drawer. The one you see in mirror made by their words. The person you were at your twentieth birthday. The person who became a doormat in the name of devotion. You were always free to walk away from being that person.

Shake off the dust from the muddy soles that have walked all over you. Over and over again, you let the dirt from those footprints seep into your skin. You kept telling yourself that they would eventually¬†stop in the name of love. But they kept going and it broke your heart.¬†You’ve been angry about that and it’s okay to admit that.¬†It’s also¬†okay to admit that they were wearing some hideous shoes. (I mean, no one faults you for thinking that cheap platforms or clunky diarrhea colored clogs are repulsive.)

You are required to be kind, but you’ve got no business being fake.¬†Fake is the biggest possible betrayal to yourself.¬†Be cordial and benevolent,¬†but under no circumstance are you to passive, idle or sidelined when it comes to your heart.

Break silence with your liberated laughter and be unapologetic about it. It’s what makes you absolutely stunning.

You sit on countertops, have been fluent in sarcasm since elementary school, love birthdays an abnormal amount, and started rocking flannel before it was cool—back when everyone else was wearing tube tops. (Thank God you never wore those.)

That’s just who you are.¬†Never mind that they made you a doormat in front of your own home. Peel yourself off of that concrete and walk in like you own the place…¬†cause you do.¬†You’ve let lies settle into your heart for far too long.¬†Kick them out and clean it up. Scrub every crack and crevice until it becomes all your own again.¬†

Home is that place where you kick up your feet, tie up your hair and make no apologies for using the sleeve of your sweatshirt as a napkin.

Your heart is your home and you’ve got to stop being the doormat burglars stomp on when they come to steal your laughter. They’ll crack open your ribs and try to swipe everything that reminds you that you’re free.¬†They come to make your safe haven feel like a den of depravity.¬†

Well you’re not a doormat and you’re not without means to keep the thieves at bay.

Throw a party. A party in the core of who you are. Laugh, eat cereal, paint, buy ugly sweaters, buy someone a coffee, and dance. Dance like Susan Sarandon in a department store. Forget that her hair looked unbecoming (because home is a place where you can dance with a man like Richard Gere and he will love you with or without your hair looking discombobulated).

Make the home of your heart a place where you remember that you’re¬†always¬†free to walk away.¬†To walk away from the lies someone told you about not being compassionate enough, or steady enough.¬†From the fear of fighting back.¬†Or from thinking that¬†it’s your loyal duty and the fate of your commitment to become a doormat…all in the name of honor.

Being the doormat of your own home is not a sign of humility and it does not make a place for you among the saints.

Don’t forget that the invitation into your heart is yours to give. Don’t lay down on that porch and let thieves take what is rightfully yours.

Lock the windows when they throw rocks of shame, disgrace and contempt.¬†Don’t let their cheap shots even crack the smallest piece of glass.

Don’t keep everyone out, but don’t let just anybody¬†in.

Guard the heart that is your home and let not it be damaged by the likes of those who destroyed their own. This home was built for you and is far too exquisite to be handled fearfully or without care.

You were always free. To walk away from the person you became when you laid down like a flimsy mat and let their feet leave an imprint. Oh, you are always free to walk away from that which seeks to make your home hollow.

It Really Is Okay To Walk Away

Your bones were made to bear the weight of the hearts you hold.

Though they seem to be crushing you and you feel absolutely broken. Though sometimes you feel as though you’ve always been unworthy to hold them–you were made to hold the big things, things like hearts, hands & history.

I know you keep looking back at those closed doors. You keep asking if there’s more you could have done.

You’ve been so weighed down by the words they said, the words you didn’t say, and by the words you so desperately needed to hear.

Life is funny that way, the most pain usually comes from the words that were never said.

And I’m sorry to say it, but you might never hear them.

If I am being honest, they’re probably never going to knock on your door in Nicholas Sparks fashion and say all those delicately strung together apologies and promises.

I need you to be okay with that.

Because it’s time that you realize deeply in your core,¬†that sometimes, it really is okay to walk away.

It doesn’t make you weak. It does not mean you don’t love them with¬†all of your heart & all the way down to your toes.

It simply means that you gave that person their freedom.

It means that you realize you can’t hold on to someone who refuses to be held.

It also means that you decided you don’t have to live by that list of¬†rules. That you get to cut all those little strings¬†that were attached to you.

And you know what else? All the things that they did to completely rip your heart out, all those little phrases they taunted you with to make you feel inferior? Well, all of that says more about them than it does about you.

People¬†can make their assumptions, they can have their beliefs about you & the path you’re on.

These are hard times for dreamers.

You know? The ones who draw outside the lines. The world changers. The people who refuse anything less than a life that brands itself on this earth.

As for you? You’re going to be a legend.

And it’s NOT because you’re better than them and not because they couldn’t be. But because you learned a long time ago that you CAN walk away. Because you realized that your happiness, your future, your dreams, your laughter doesn’t depend on another human being.

You’re going to make the history books because you’re not too busy clenching all the small things, all the little worries & arguments. You put down your fists down a long time ago.¬†

So throw off the weights. Untangle the strings.

I know they told you that you weren’t enough.

I know someone came in and tried to poison those dreams in your heart. Using their words and glances to make you feel like all of your worst fears about yourself are actually true.

They found all the right buttons to push. They made you believe in the worst version of yourself.

But they were dead wrong. 

I know how you found your knees on the kitchen floor and your face buried in your hands. All those prayers you prayed, those sobs that were drowned out by the sound of your music screaming from your speakers. I know all the drives on back roads, silence seeming to be your only companion.

But life is more than what people do to you, more than what they take from you, more than the words they use to tie you up and box you in.

It’s a chance for you to take all of that, all of those little things that have tried to gut you, and use them for greatness. It’s a chance for you to take the words I¬†love you and wear them out on people who will¬†never say them back.¬†Because you can bear that kind of weight.¬†You can love and love and love until you’re ruined and wrecked.¬†

Because the brave ones were born to love until they’re empty. Because the idea of never loving in the first place is far worse than being crushed. They know¬†the ache of heartbreak is much better than the agony of solitude.

So, get up. Dust yourself off. Pour yourself a cup of coffee (with peppermint mocha creamer). Take a shower. Breathe. Open the windows.

Decide to love them anyway.

But walk on.