The fear was indescribable, and yet it was most certainly there. It whispered to me that maybe I hadn't changed as much as I thought I did. And that maybe I would notice the hurt still in my heart.
Growing up with the circumstances that I did was challenging. Painful. And most of all, confusing.
I wanted to get away and run from my story.
No one seemed to understand me, and yet the truth is that I didn't let anyone in my heart anyway.
The women who I spent a handful of hours with this week don't know how nervous I was to be with them. How, I get chatty when I'm afraid. And really, it's because I don't know how they will receive me. I worry I'm not who even I think I am.
I don't remember much about 15 years ago. Maybe I do and I just don't want to.
So much of me is less confused and more accepting of my story. Yet, I don't want to go back to those years and let them define me.
How can you, really? Let time be frozen and memories of what once was be the definition of today? It's not fair.
Sitting there chatting with these women, I began to relax and consider that perhaps they were nervous, too. Because we've all lived a story that has grown us.
We aren't who we were then. We were only just beginning.
So I began to consider that our being together was more of a getting-to-know-you party. To me, revisiting those years didn't matter as much as visiting the heart of who we are today.
Life has its challenges. And our story-lived influences our steps.
I wanted to know who these women are today. We call ourselves friends and I can't help but to think that our conversation today is so much more meaningful than it was back then. How could we have even said friend back then when it was so superficial? I sit there thinking Today matters more to me than Yesterday and I want to dismiss the memories.
Yet, I suddenly realize that because I knew them then, I trust them more than if I never knew them before.
And I see right then how story really does mean something.
I consider that maybe we all did some growing together the other day. That all our years of story meeting up with today is what growth really is about. And how friendship understands this.
My heart aches for the pain she feels. When I ask how her dad is and she shares the truth of their severed relationship, I think of my story and my dad, and I just want to weep with her.
And when she tells me how her groom has changed and I see the fear behind her eyes, I want to wrap my arms around her and tell her it's worth fighting for. All I want to do is encourage her because I've been there.
Story births understanding. It's how compassion grows.
I think of the years of wonder I lived, knowing she felt like a sister and was such an important friend, and the selfishness I had that maybe she really didn't like me.
Truth was, she had her own questions and leaving Home was a choice she had to make. If I didn't know her back then, I wouldn't understand as much today.
And there it is again, the realization that story really does matter.
When she came back to town and showed her daughters where her home was, her heart was welcomed with comfort and peace. Maybe she knew down deep that her story was necessary for where she is today. And that her returning was an important part it.
Truth was, she grew right before her daughter's eyes when she came Home to where her story began. Because growing heals us.
It happened to me when I returned Home, thinking I was all done with my own growing. Feeling like life was coming full circle and fear of losing all that I thought I gained, I realized that the returning part was the most necessary. It's the part in my story where I grew the most. It's when healing happened. The years away mattered, but only because of where my story began--the one that influenced the leaving part.
My willingness to be Home was a choosing to accept that All. Is. For. Purpose. and courage to trust was my worship.
Even when I didn't see it as such, I was honoring Him in my returning to where my story began.