No empty platitudes. I’m sick of them.
Some cliched affirmations, because they sometimes help.
I don’t know what it’s like to be you.
I don’t know. What it’s like. To be you.
I do know what it’s like to be me. Maybe.
I know what it’s like to ask yourself, “What’s the point of going on?” and not really have an answer.
I know what it’s like to question everything you believe.
I know what it’s like to feel completely and utterly alone, even when you aren’t. And even when you are.
Truth be told, I feel a bit like that right now. But I’m going to be fine, I promise; I’m not writing for sympathy or for attention, so please don’t respond with encouragement, because this isn’t about me.
It’s about you.
It’s about you if you’ve ever felt like no one understands. Like there’s no one to talk to. Like no one wants to invest in you. Like you’ve screwed up everything in your life. Like nothing good ever comes your way.
If you’ve ever experienced any kind of hopelessness.
This is for you if you get sad or angry when people try to comfort you with empty words instead of their presence. If you’ve ever felt like telling the next person who says, “God loves you, cheer up!” some variation of “F*** you, you don’t get it.”
I’m not going to command you to feel anything, as if I could.
In the end, words are only symbols. All I ultimately have to give is me.
And at the risk of sounding too much like a line from “V for Vendetta,” the truth is, I love you.
Even if we’ve never met or never will meet. Even if we can’t agree on anything. Even if we could never be friends because I would annoy you too much or you would drive me insane. Even if you’re weird. Even if you’re different. Even if no one ever has. Even if no one ever will.
I love you.
It’s OK if you don’t believe me, or if you have no idea what that means.
It means that I care. That I will try to empathize, though I can only do so much. That I understand we’re in this together, whatever “this” is, and as the saying goes, “None of us get out of here alive.”
It means I don’t care if you think you “deserve” it. It means you can reject it, but that doesn’t change the fact. It means that I value your life enough that I would give mine up for it, believe that or not. It’s still true.
A good friend recently said that so much of Paul’s theology in the New Testament, as far as his exhortations and guides for daily practice are concerned, boils down to this: don’t give up.
Ponder that – read slowly – moving past the triteness of the phrase: don’t give up.
Don’t give up.
Even when it hurts not to, and I know it can hurt. God, I know it can hurt.
There can be terror; intense nausea; fatigue; just the weight of pain and what feels like every sadness ever felt by any living thing, brought about when you think of the prospect of carrying on.
It’s not fair of me to ask it of you. To continue enduring what you feel. Because I can’t promise it will pass any time soon. And I can’t make you believe anything in particular.
I can only promise that I love you, and that as long as my breath continues to come, I am here.
I am here. I will do what I can, though I promise it won’t be enough. But what I have, I give.
What love and hope I have, I give you. No conditions.
I am here.