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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It is often so hard to step out and allow myself to be vulnerable. Thank you for the reminder–it is not about me.
You (and Grandma) have modeled the art of note writing and being present friends so well. I would never guess it’s hard for you, but it’s reassuring to know it’s risky for all of us — but we can all do it.
Once again, you speak directly to me. Writing notes or even saying something to someone facing difficulties is so hard for me. I vow to do better, but it is so hard. Because of your inspiration, I will once again work on this!