Over the past 6 months, I have heard more stories than I could ever comprehend. They were stories of heartbreak, loss and grief; stories about people nearly giving up but choosing to hold on; stories about people wanting to help their friends. Many times these stories felt near too much for me to cope with. How do you read such honest and raw words when you can’t even see the face they belong too? Even more so, how do you respond to someone who is asking what it means to be alive? What do you tell them when they have lost a loved one in heart wrenching circumstances?
During my time overseas, I was in a position to hear and then speak life into many people. In this time, I re-learnt the significance of words; the words we speak and write, the words we paint and dance to, the words we feel in our spirit that chain us or lift us up. I came to see that a single word carries far more purpose and significance than we could ever realise.
When I responded to these messages while in the USA, I found I was speaking messages of life and truth. Words that every human needs to hear, but never do enough.
You are not alone.
You are strong.
Better days are ahead.
You deserve to be loved.
I would say these to people many times each day. Often, I felt as if my heart was poured out onto the computer screen and with each click of the ‘send’ button I was sending a piece of it to a new friend somewhere in the world. I was passing on hope, and I was hopeful that they would choose to seek out help and support so they could live the life they deserved.
There are some words written into my life many years ago that still resonate with me. They are both good and bad, sad and happy, condemning and freeing. There are words that tell me I am strong and courageous, loved and cherished. These are the words that drove me to spend time overseas, to learn about other people and what I could give them. Then there are the other words I live by each day. The words I try not to think about, but which encase my heart and are always there. They tell me I am a failure, that I am unlovable, that I am useless.
We were all told different things growing up. Often, it is the negative words that stay with us; the lies, the hurts, the moments that take us back to that time we wish we were someone else. During my time in the States, I had the profound honour of telling people that these words were lies. I was able to tell them that they could and would overcome these words, that their circumstances or that of those around them did not define them. And sometimes I would hear back from people, and they would tell me about their victories- about how many weeks clean they were, how they had begun counseling or how they had read and re-read the words I had written many times that day.
Now I have observed the power of words, I see that I need to tell myself the same words I told them.
I am not alone.
I am strong.
I deserve to be loved.
I am beautiful.
And so I will tell you the same thing; don’t let those words hold you captive any longer. Stand and fight with me. We fight each time we ask for help, each time we pray, each time we enter the counselor’s office; we fight every time we listen to our favourite song and let it take us to a place where our spirit feels alive.
Don’t give up my friend; let these new words define you. We will walk with them each day and hold them close to our hearts, and soon we will begin to believe them. Then we will be able to tell others what it really means to be alive.