reaching out

by Kristen

Sometimes I think I need the exact right words. I need a perfect plan and predictable outcomes . . . assurance of success.

I want to say something, but what if my words grate instead of soothe? What if my timing is all wrong? What if I make it worse? What if?

So I stay silent. The words remain unspoken. Other words remain unwritten. The note card sits blank, the text un-composed.

The opportunity passes.

I wonder . . . what if I’d said something? What if some words—though imperfect—would have been better than no words? What if a piece of mail would have meant more than an empty mailbox? What if?

So I wrote three notes. I sent one message. Two got no response: maybe the words were wrong; maybe they chafed; or maybe it isn’t for me to know. And two got responses: the riskiest one—the note to the person I know the least—resulted in a teary hug and a heartfelt thank you; the other received an immediate text and not-for-the-world-to-know information, so I could pray more specifically.

But it wasn’t about the responses. It wasn’t about me at all.

Even as I fret over wording, my anxiety is misplaced. Offering companionship during difficult days is about presence, not perfection. Reaching out is not for my benefit.

I restock my card supply. I add reminders to my list. I turn my eyes from my fears to my friends. The outcomes aren’t mine, but the opportunities are.


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