I’m finding it difficult to put into words the events of this week. It never crossed my mind that what happened was related to fasting, but a good friend said something along the lines of: hey! Your fast is really working!! And that kinda rocked my world (that had already been rocked by this situation I’m going to talk about.)
I wrote a guest post for a conference I’m presenting at next month. The theme is The Mind and Spirit of the Artist. All of the guest posts have been discussing the mental health of the artist: depression, suicide, anxiety, etc… I felt a strong urge to share a story I’d never told anyone. Not Phil. Not my longest, dearest friend.
I kept it secret mostly because I was ashamed of my behavior. Partly because it was so long ago and why dig up bones buried long so long ago?
Two things converged and led to me telling the story. One is the piece I wrote for the Listen to Your Mother show–all about my mom. That piece really brought up some issues I hadn’t dealt with since her death. And that brought up memories, including this one I’d never talked about nor shared. Then, after reading a few of the other guest posts concerning The Mind and Spirit of the Artist, I knew I had to do it. I had to dig it out of the suitcase of baggage I carry and throw it out to the wind.
and it was scary.
The post went live on Monday morning, a week before I’d expected, so I was caught off guard when I saw the link shared on Facebook. I took a deep breath and prayed.
In fact, you ever run across one of those stories and your reaction is “wow, even them?” That was my reaction when Michelle Pendergrass sent me her guest blog.
That was from Maurice, long time friend, founder of the conference I’m doing the Visual Prayer workshop at, and like many others, someone who didn’t know my past.
I shared the link in the morning and evening, like I do with all my posts. At around ten in the evening, Maurice messaged me. “Did you see who commented? You might want to go take a look.”
shock might be a grand understatement.
Tuesday and Wednesday were a bit of a tornado of chat messages, phone calls, and texts. Most everyone wanted to know how it made me feel. For me, the bottom line is this: I offered up a piece of myself to God that I had been hiding from the rest of the world. He knew it was there. I was the one who hadn’t released it. A man I haven’t seen nor spoken to in nearly twenty years somehow found that story the same day I posted it and apologized.
To me that means God took that offering and transformed it. Just as He has time and time again.
I pray that it gives others the courage to unload their baggage. I’m a writer, God made me that way…I don’t think everyone is called to share in such a public forum, that would terrify some into an emotional paralysis. Telling stories is one of the outlets God gave me. I think He gives each of us what we need. Maybe you have a trusted friend or a mentor, a parent, a sibling. We are called to bear each other’s burdens. I pray that if you’re hiding something, you ask God to lead you to your outlet and offer it up. These secrets have no hold on us when we hand them over to Him. We give them power, we feed them with our fears and anxieties.
We all have secrets.
The one you’re thinking about right this second–that’s the one you need to hand over. Quit hoarding it.