My heart is bursting after my last blog post. Your response totally blew me away ... I'm completely overwhelmed by your love, encouragement and bravery in reaching out and sharing your stories. And, I'm calling for MORE. More connections, more vulnerability, more community. You have no idea how your moment of bravery or word of testimony could impact someone else. Someone who might just need to hear what you have to say, or how you battled through a dark period in your life. Something you might feel is insignificant or even 'silly' could be the one thing that changes the course of someone else's thought patterns or path. Don't play yourself down, don't compare what you have to say to someone else. Just say it. Say it in the way only you can say it. Even if it's just for one reader - surely that's reason good enough?
So much of what you have shared with me over the last week has resonated deep within my soul and spirit. That sense of belonging that we all crave. A mutual feeling of the importance of connecting with like-minded people. And, the hope that there is so, so much more to come. More light shining in darkness. More love to give.
This morning I read a post that made my heart ache and my spirit grieve. Erin of @motherbeastie has a way with words that just gets me ... every ... single ... time. The reason that I feel every word is because it's honest truth. Words written from a life lived and experiences that have shaped her whole being. There's no frills, no fluff, just a raw and naked vulnerability that is penetrating through darkness. It's shining a big, bright light onto emotions that we so often try to bury deep down inside us, and certainly never want to open up about to others. Yet, an important part of any emotional healing process is to communicate. I'm learning more and more about the importance of communicating. I truly believe that there is a community here who want to engage in a dialogue that's open, honest and vulnerable. Conversations that are tough, that stir up emotions that need to be brought to the surface, so that a process of healing can begin.
Amidst the talk, I often find myself questioning how I can help. It's one thing to read a post, leave a comment or send a message. But, more and more, I'm fighting the urge to go a step further ... to grab a cuppa and have a face on conversation, to give a hug or get on my knees to pray. I know there are some of you who feel the same. That stirring of your spirit of compassion and empathy, to reach out in love and kindness. I feel it too. So why fight it? How can we find ways to be love and light across these social media platforms? Is it a cuppa and chat, a handwritten letter in the post, a surprise package delivered to a door? I'm feeling incredibly challenged in this season to not just talk, but to act. To try and demonstrate the empathy that I feel for others, through practical love, in any way that I can. There are so many of you doing it too. A community spirit is rising!
And, it is ok, not to be ok. Behind the instagram squares, no-one knows what real life looks like for some. The social media world can make our own darkness feel more isolating and suffocating. Please, please, please reach out if it's becoming unbearable, there is always someone who can empathise with you. Someone with a similar experience, who has felt similar pain/grief/anxiety. Don't let your darkness become so heavy that it engulfs you completely. There is someone to help or even just to listen.
If you are ok, if you're in a good place right now ... can I challenge you to stop and think about someone you might know who could use a little love or light in their life? Society encourages us to become self-obsessed, out for what we can get for ourselves ... I can't bear it anymore! There is so much hurt, fear and pain out there, that could be eased a little by one, small and simple act of love.
Aside from reaching out through social media or meeting someone for a chat (which is completely out of my comfort zone btw!) here are 2 little ways I'm trying to show a little love and light over the coming weeks:
1. The beautiful Catherine @mycopperfox is running a Christmas Cup Exchange through IG and it's not too late to join (registration closes on 29th November!) It involves the simple act of connecting with someone new through IG and blessing them by buying them a cup. Such a brilliantly easy and inexpensive way to show a little love this Christmastime.
2. If you are local to Portadown, why not pop down to @the_yard_portadown? Not solely because it's like my second home these days, or for Heather's delicious treats, or even to buy some of the girls' gorgeous gifts ... but, to pick a luggage tag off their Community Christmas Tree. The tags on the tree represent some local people who Helping Hands have been working with over the last few months. You pick a tag, buy a small gift, tie the tag back on the present and pop it back under the tree. There are lots of different ages to choose from (boys, girls, men and women.) A friend had a wonderful idea to take her daughter in and pick a tag for a little girl of the same age. Part of their Christmas activities is then to learn about the importance of giving, and then to go and pick a gift, wrap it and put it back under the tree. Amazing.
If you choose to bless others, you too will be blessed. It doesn't have to cost you anything, a simple text or phone-call is all it takes to show you care.
"The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped." - Proverbs 11
Bless you this week,