I saw Counselor Kevin this week. He’s the best and worst.
I sit in his office and usually for 15-20 minutes we shoot the breeze – laughing, swapping funny stories, etc. Then he’ll look at me, flash a quick smile and ask those four words that unleash a landslide of emotion: “So, how are you?”
Sometimes the tears begin instantly, sometimes they sit in my throat until the very end, and rarely do they never come. I began to tell him about how good things really are in my life. How grateful I am for my job, my living situation, my financial situation, my family, my friends, etc. So much good. And then my voice broke as I tried to explain the underlying overwhelming emotions that I just can’t quite sort out.
The tears streamed down my face and my voice got more and more raw as I continued on. Kevin does what he does best – he just listened. And wrote down notes on things I said. But mostly listened. He lets me just rip off my layers of protection and bleed all over the room. He doesn’t judge or tell me I’m a hopeless case. He doesn’t offer pithy sayings or trite phrases. He just listens and sits in the suck with me. He does however ask me why I say specific things, reminds me of the truth I believe, and makes me confront lies head on.
The tears always ebb and flow. Triggered by my own words or by Kevin’s quiet questions and answers. He doesn’t ever fix it – which sometimes I desperately want but never need. He just lets me lay all the messy pieces out and helps me sift them into something a little less messy.
While we were talking I kept thinking about how grateful I am that the people in my life have never given up on me. They (Kevin included) have always let me unleash my vulnerabilities, fears, doubts, unbelief, confusion, and frustrations. There hasn’t been condemnation or shame, no making me feel foolish or afraid, just acceptance and safety.
I laugh now at my plan to leave nine months after I got to Colorado that October night almost four years ago. I was so determined to leave that I didn’t want to plug in. There was nothing for me except a chance to pass through. No need for community or relationships. I was a gypsy in between landing places.
Yet someone saw me. A few someones saw me. It started slowly – with one or two – and grew larger and larger. And those first someones were determined to love me, in spite of my determination not to be loved. They fought for me, they believed in me, they carried me, and truthfully? They loved the sh*t out of me.
I was a disaster when I got here. I was broken and angry and lost. I was unsure of who I was. I didn’t know who my Papa was. My sharp pieces took casualties as love made them duller and less poisonous. Yet these few specific people and one specific man loved me. They could have and probably should have walked away.
But they were determined to love me better than I had ever been loved before. They knew the freedom I had yet to experience so they collectively wrapped their arms around me as I kicked and screamed and refused to be loved. Like a loving parent who knows their child needs to be kept safe until the thrashing stops they held on with tight arms and hearts.
And wouldn’t you know it I found out who I am because of it. Because my community did not give up on me. Because they loved me through my selfishness, brokenness, anger, and insecurities. They saw me before I could see myself.
They knew Papa needed to strip the layers between who I thought I was and who I really am. They knew it would be painful. They knew I would need them. They knew who was underneath the ugliness.
They saw her and they loved her and they fought for her.