Today was easy. Today's sacrifice and service came via one of my favorite people in the entire history of the world; she has a heart for service and sacrifice and does it with seamless ease and humility. She leads a women's group and asked me to come and speak to them tonight. Service for the day: check!
I wish I could end it there. I went and I shared a little bit about this blog and the "quest." I was so worried that I would seem upperhanded or uppity. I prepared something to speak about but ended up leaving it in my purse and letting the Lord lead. It was strange and intimidating to be in a roomful of women who were there because they were hurting. I didn't feel upperhanded or uppity. I felt exposed. I looked around the room into those brown eyes, blue eyes and green eyes and I saw my eyes.
I saw the same fear, the same pain, the same brokenness, the same confusion, the same exhaustion and the same questioning on those faces that I wear on mine most of the time. We think we are doing such a great job at hiding it. This just in: we aren't. And one of the most painful things is that when we are truly stuck in the muck and mire, when we are truly hurting and in need, when we crave the company of a supportive soul, that is when we isolate ourselves the most because we are fearful.
We fear the reactions of the people who are supposed to love us no matter what. What on earth do we really know of love? Is it that cheap to us? Is it something that can be bought and sold with an action, because, and I go back to this again, the brutal reality of love is that it endures, despite the shattering of everything that we are.
I have been shattered. Maybe you haven't yet, but don't go patting yourself on the back. It will happen because it always does. I'm kind of a pro when it comes to the whole shattering thing and I'm not going to lie, sometimes that shattering has just been the way of fate but sometimes that shattering has been all me. Selfish choices, self-indulgent mistakes, fear of being alone, refusal to accept myself for what I am - all have at some point in time been the boulder crashing into the weight-bearing wall of my glass house. The quiet pain, the kind that you live with in silence, the kind you don't tell anyone about, even when it is over, that is the pain that shatters a woman.
I am not certain, but I am pretty sure that I was in the presence of women who have experienced that kind of shattering tonight. Beautiful... and here is why. The solder. I learned about soldering about four years ago when I went through my jewelry making phase. When you want to put two metals together and you want them to be strong and hold together through wear and tear, you use solder which is a material that melts between the two and holds them together. You can see the solder after you use it, and you definitely can tell that the parts weren't originally meant to be together, but it will hold together forever, and it won't ever break the same way again.
That's the art of the solder. That's what we are supposed to be to each other, for each other and I have done a very poor job of being the solder for the people around me that are shattering. In fact, I've spent more time being the boulder. I was humbled by the women I spoke with tonight, humbled by the way they loved each other, the way they were seeking healing, the way that they were not afraid to be the solder, the non-judgmental, loving without condition solder. So I want to say thank you for the invite and thank you for the realization that my act of service for today reminded me that I should be grateful for my imperfections because they are nothing but the opportunity to allow someone wonderful, compassionate and understanding to practice the art of the solder.