We can only really begin to feel the weight of our circumstances when we let others in on them.
Three years ago, I wasn’t letting people in. On the details, yes. On the big picture, definitely. On my heart, no. On my emotions, not even close. On my depths, never.
Or so I thought.
I have become this person I never thought I would be: wearing the depths of my heart on my sleeve. And I will gladly bring them with me on our next coffee date, yes, if. Big if here. If you are willing to meet my depths with yours. Not so that our miseries can have company and refuse to lift and lighten in the sun’s warm rays, which rise every morning no matter the weather. But so we can watch His transformative work together.
He lifts up the valleys. He lays low the mountains. And He wants to do that in our communities, not in our isolation.
Two weekends ago, I was privileged to see my depths laid bare. All my silent what ifs–even just for a moment and chance of human error–came to reality. I received a rejection. A “no”. A year’s worth of promises, seemingly dashed.
And my texts and phone calls and tearful Skype dates were not met with surface-level pity by a single person in this community called the Church that the Lord has so graciously planted me in, even if most of them live hundreds of miles away.
Oh no, not even close. My depths were met with their depths. Because when we’ve laid our depths on the table between our hearts, over coffee and tea and rocking chairs and cupcakes and movies and other divine appointments, when we’ve laid bare the depths we all share, something amazing happens.
Our depths cry out together.
You see, there’s this myth we’ve mistaken for a promise for far too long: that when we get into community with others, our troubles and burdens will slacken because they are being shared. That is no truth at all. The truth is, we hurt more, not less, when we join our depths with another’s. Our depths deepen. Our hearts widen. And our pain fills these bigger spaces. Our heartache has more room for its heavy, labored breathing. We’ve let others in. Which means we’ve let their pain in too.
And the key to community is not letting any of this scare you away.
Because the other side of this truth is this: when our depths join with others’ depths, our depths become stronger. Able to stand. Not given to despair. Not handed over to the enemy without a fight. And they become widened for another shade of pain and heartache and loss: joy. Yes, joy is but a shade of pain. An overflow left in its wake. If its wake is washed in the redemption of Jesus. If its settled in a place of refinement, of vulnerability seeking transformation, not fear.
And as I watched this play out in my own heart two weekends ago, I haven’t been able to let it go. That’s the funny thing about honesty; it tends to stick. The weight of that rejection literally took me to my knees. I needed to feel that. I needed to be weighed down.
But more than that, I needed to share that weight with others. So that they, too, can begin to feel their own circumstances. So that we can all–together, connected, unified–begin to seek out that same weighty intimacy with God.
Weighty intimacy. Maybe that’s what we need more than anything. An intimacy with our Father and with one another. An intimacy that rises to meet the circumstances that might crush us. An intimacy that protects us from the burden of our own insecurities. An intimacy that is not rooted in my strength, but His. An intimacy that says, “Though He slays me, yet I will trust Him.” An intimacy that refuses to sing that alone. An intimacy that insists on echoes, on voices that will sing along.
**PS. I started reading through Lamentations today. A book that weeps for intimacy to be rekindled in the ashes of a city burnt to the ground. A book that is honest about the weight that this intimacy requires. I don’t want to walk through this book alone. I’m thinking of starting an email-based study. Or, I could start a new, password-required blog page that would host our hearts via comments, multiple authors’ words (not just me writing), introductions to one another, etc. I want feedback FROM YOU. Comment, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Facebook message/comment on the link, text, etc. Let’s not walk through the Word alone anymore. Let’s commit to weighty intimacy. Love you all.