This morning, a friend wrote a very vulnerable, broken post on Facebook. She has recently been diagnosed with cancer and every doctor’s appointment reveals more and more terrifying news. She has the bravest faces I’ve ever seen. She has one for every day, one for every outfit, one for every appointment. Today, she didn’t bother to put one on and instead, shared her very vulnerable heart with her friends. Guess what happened then?
The love poured in. The comments were incredible. The absolute love-drenching was a sight to see. I read and re-read every comment and keep checking back to see more love flowing. The part of the post that struck a chord with me and related very closely to my own journey was when she noted the unexpected silence from friends whose hands she had held throughout their own trials. It’s so true and many of us have experienced this in our most difficult moments. We look around and cannot find our family or friends… those we fully expected to ‘be there’ for us. It is so very painful.
Like a small ‘ping!’ in my brain, the bell of realization, or a text message from the Universe, I finally understood something about my own journey.
I’ve shared in previous posts that I am thankful for the ‘Replacements’ – the ones who arrived after the others disappeared or fell silent. Some are still watching, but absolutely silently, without a word. Fixated on the train wreck, maybe. Or loving from a distance, completely bewildered as to how to help, paralyzed by their own fears. I don’t know what keeps them silent or keeps them on the fringe. Sometimes, in my own pain, I’ve resented them. I’ve slowly learned to let them go -the ones who left- and recognize it as a reflection of them, not of me. I’ve also learned to let people hang out at a safe distance as they watch me continue the journey. It’s okay, maybe my journey will spare them from something or teach them something or somehow impact them. That part is not mine to handle. The Replacement crew has carried me along and done the hard yards with me.
The Replacements connect with the ‘me’ that exists right now, not the ‘me’ of before. I am so thankful for them.
So back to the PING! Someone posted a comment for my friend, encouraging her to forgive the ones who left and love the ones who came. Beautiful. So very perfect and beautiful. Although I have already made peace with my feelings of abandonment and betrayal, and reconciled it in my heart the best way I know how, this morning I received a different perspective. They were never meant to walk with me through this. I had expectations of them that were unfair. Misaligned. I didn’t know the Replacements would be so abundant, so equipped, so full of love for me. I couldn’t have known that. I didn’t know Replacements were even on their way! I had to let go to receive more. I had to forgive and love to be loved. I had to open my hands and let them fall away to have the Replacements come and hold my hands in a different way.
Yes. They were never meant to walk with me through this.
I totally love this realization.
Thank you for this. Wow. Wow. Wow.
Dear God, thank You for thisssss.
To anyone who feels abandoned, your Replacements are on their way. To anyone who struggles with the holidays, Replacements are coming for you. To those who feel unseen, Replacements will find you. They can see you. You might not even notice it at first, but one day your perspective will shift as if your vision has just cleared, as if you are seeing things through an entirely different lens. The fear will lessen. The sense of loneliness, rejection, or abandonment will fade. You might even hear a small ‘ping!’ as the bell of realization rings for you.
Open your hands and let go of those you are holding onto so tightly, those who are wrestling to break free. This moment is not theirs, it is yours. They were not meant to walk through this with you. The sooner you realize this, the less suffering there will be. The pain is there, yes. It hurts. Totally. No doubt about it. But the suffering? You don’t need to prolong that part. Let go. Let go to receive more.
And to my friend who is afraid for her life, your Replacements are here.
it’s just me…
The blog, It’s Just Me, is written by Holly Chamberlain, who makes a living as a regional sales manager for a global pharmaceutical company but makes a life by working with teenagers, teachers, and parents to redefine the criteria for who is ‘at risk’ for self-harm and suicide. She is the Founder of the aMasongrace Project and shares these core messages with students to offer hope, help build resilience, and improve self-esteem: Moments Pass, Please Stay, You Matter.
To subscribe to the blog, please visit the website, www.aMasongraceproject.com, to enter your email address. Follow the aMasongrace project on Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat: @aMgYouMatter. To invite the aMasongrace project to speak to your youth group or school, please contact Holly via aMasongraceproject@gmail.com.