The Smoking Bridges
Our western culture is not set up for success, at least not when it comes to relationships.
Our marriages fail.
Our kids become estranged from their parents, and vice versa.
Our friends stab us in the back.
Our employers fire us when we’re no longer as useful as the new young hipster from college.
Our bridges burn, and the flames cast light on our solitary selves, living alone in homes, jobs, and schools full of desperately hurt people.
The Dark Spots
We learn from an early age that you can’t trust others with your dark spots.
You can’t trust others with your feelings.
You can’t trust others with your mistakes.
You can’t trust others with your dark thoughts.
You can’t trust others with your fear.
You must never, ever be vulnerable.
Why We Love
So why bother? Why even try to build relationships?
You were designed to be loved greatly and to love greatly.
It is your nature. It is your instinct. It is a law that dwells in your inner self, stubborn and unyielding.
It is there, inside you. It is not dead, but in quiet slumber.
As it sleeps, your love-nature is experiencing a nightmare – a frightening dream of being rejected, of being humiliated, of being inadequate.
The truth is: you are loved. You are good. You are enough.
But like Narnia, we must enter the nightmare, bring our safest friends, and learn our lessons. We have much to learn, and much to conquer, and everything we must conquer is WITHIN our selves, not without.
You are not broken; You are whole. You have what it takes.
So Now What?
Now go! Your inner self is waiting, the nightmare ready, for you to shatter the illusion and burst that bubble of self-doubt. But you can only do this when you invite safe people into the darkness with you – into your mistakes, into your fears, into your pain, and into your passion.
Go. Find a friend who is a good listener, and who has never EVER made you feel:
Ask this friend to come over for tea/coffee/beer/maple-syrup, and prepare yourself to tell him or her a story. This story is your story, and it’s about you, and it’s about your darkness.
Tell your story. Let your friend come into that story, and then wait to see what happens:
You will come out from this encounter with an almost shocking sense of confidence
that you matter,
and that your story matters and is worth listening to.
Go. Call that friend. Make a plan. Tell the tale. It’s important that you do!
Because it’s in your very nature to tell story. That dark world I described above, with the failed marriages and back-stabbing friends – that is not our nature, it is our unnature. Our stories create the empathy that’s required to nurture our marriages and relationships. Without empathy – without sharing our stories – we are in danger of remaining hurt people who are scared to death of intimacy. My friends, I believe with all my heart that we can rebuild bridges with our stories and one day enter a new era in which everyone in our communities are validated, accepted, and cherished as sons and daughters of love.