Dear Strong One,
I see you. I suppose that is one of the most difficult things about that moniker, right? Somehow your strength makes you invisible to those around you. Even when you cry out folks seem to shrug it off. "They always find their way out," most people think. And we do. We do find our way out and through. We press on, hold up under the pressure, and stay strong. Do you think they ever wonder how our shoulders got so strong? Do you think they ever wonder how our legs became able to bear up under the weight of life?
We were the only ones lifting...
So I see you. I see your late night self doubt sessions. I see you tears that you push away so that kids and the lovers won't see. I see the sheer pain that mask with that sparkly smile when people ask how are things. You know they don't want to know. So you update them on all the non-updates. I see you as you sit through story after story from others who need your support and a listening year. I see you as you swallow down the sting of the compliment, "thank you for always being there for me," because you wonder when you'll be valuable enough for someone to show up for.
This love letter is for you.
This is a reminder that you are strong and amazing, but that doesn't mean you don't need your arms held up every once in awhile. This is a reminder that you don't have to solve the world's problems when it feels like even too much to get up and brush your own hair. This is a reminder that you can walk down that other hall to avoid that one person who will most certainly dump their stuff on you...and never consider what stuff you need to dump. This is full permission to not call that other person back. Don't answer that email. Say not today. Say no. Say I can't. If strong means trying to pour out something from yourself which has not been poured in, you have permission to not be strong. I know you've been let down. I know you've asked for help and then that person didn't follow through. You were left having to clean up the mess. I know that you keep thinking, "why even ask for help, I end up doing all of the work anyway." Risk it, dear one. Keep risking and asking for help. Keep that place in your heart open even though it has known heartache.
May you hold fast those who love you, not for your strength, but for the rare glimpses of your tenderness. Let them love you well. Don't stand in the way of good people loving you, friend. Risk loving those people and keeping them close. They are the ones with the pitchers pouring clean water into you and refreshing your soul. I know. I know... you don't think you deserve it. But you do!
May you find rest today. May you find hope today. May you be reminded that you are worthy.