“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living, breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.” [Jamie Tworkowski]
Last Wednesday seemed endless, maybe because it was the first day in over two weeks I had a full day of classes or maybe it was because I had woken up sick that day. I had been to four classes and two meetings so far and wanted nothing more than to be in my own bed, but it was barely 5:45 PM. To keep myself awake a little longer, I wandered over to Starbucks for one of my favorite items off their “secret menu”, a cold buster. I waited for my tea and did an absolutely terrible job of trying not to be noticed. One of the most impactful people in my life walked up to me and said four simple words “How have you been?” I froze. Do I say great so I can escape having to explain how much pain I have been in? Or do I answer truthfully and kick out a brick of my high fortress?
I grabbed my tea, sat down, and kicked out a brick. It wasn’t easy and it started with me talking solely about my circumstances. I told her of the drama, the hurt, and how much my life had changed in just a few short weeks. Her next words knocked every last brick of mine down. I really needed a friend that night, or as Jamie would say, “a living, breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.” Now trust me when I say we definitely were not screaming, between the two of us we easily knew half of the people sitting around us. That night I needed a friend and I found her in a coffee shop. Sitting in a coffee shop in the middle of a college campus we had the most intentional and vulnerable conversation I’ve had with anyone [not including my therapist] in months.
The week before last a friend of mine and I made a decision following and idea that one of my professors refers to as ‘intentional living’. Intentional Living is the idea that we as humans need to make decisions in our lives that will bring us joy. For us that day it was missing an evening class and driving out to the beach to catch the sunset. I wouldn’t exactly consider it a road trip, but the car was full of our voices screaming old sons and new songs. A trip to the beach would not be complete without at least putting my feet in the water. Braving the cold waters of the February Pacific we ran knee deep into the waves. Frozen feet, endless laughter, and way too many selfies later I had been renewed.
As I watched the waves roll in one after another I had an incredible moment with Jesus right there on Zuma beach. The song “Oceans” played over and over in my head, but a few lines seemed to stand out more than the rest. ”When oceans rise | My soul will rest in Your embrace | For I am Yours and You are mine | Your grace abounds in deepest waters” I don’t know about you, but that must have been written at the beach in a dark place. As the ocean continued to rise my soul felt more and more at peace. I was resting in the embrace of the one who loves me most. I was pulled back into reality by my best friend and a bag of pita chips as we waited for the sun to set. Her invitation to watch the sunset on the beach that night was my “living, breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.”
These two stories don’t have much in common. One event took place in a coffee shop, while the other took place on the beach. They did have some of my favorite things; coffee, sunsets, and music. Most importantly, these stories illustrate just two of many times when I needed someone else. I needed “a living, breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.” I needed a friend. Just like me, you will need other people. You will need other people and you will need to be that person for someone else. Whether it’s in a coffee shop or an airplane, on a road trip or watching the sunset, keep knocking those bricks down. You will never know when someone is on their last leg unless they tell you. Odds are, they won’t. Be that person. That person has saved my life more times than I would like to admit. I can’t wait to be that person for someone else.
Special thanks to Jamie Tworkowski for inspiring many of my words and creating such an amazing organization. If you haven’t heard of his name go ahead and google “To Write Love on Her Arms”. You won’t be disappointed.