Anything But Empty

"Let your words be anything but empty."

Fragility and Trust

We are such fragile and sturdy creatures; we are delicate, easily broken, and so many things can leave impressions on our being, sometimes without us even knowing…until we do.

It amazes me, when I look around at all the people living, breathing, moving, and I think how easily we can be knocked out of orbit and sent spinning into oblivion, and it takes my breath away that so many of us are here.

And, sometimes, when I am not too distracted or annoyed with whatever else is happening in my day, I am bowled over by how brave they are, the people in the pew beside me at church, the ones waiting behind me at the supermarket, or the one running next to me on the treadmill at the gym.

We come into this world with trust knit into the deepest parts of who we are. We have no choice but to trust because we are utterly, completely desperate and dependent. We have nothing but tears, screams, and cries to say what we need, so we have no choice but to trust that someone will love us.  All of human history is contingent upon the assumption that that trust is not misplaced. We trust that we will be kept alive, and wanted.

Because we are fragile beings, even if we live, if we are not wanted that too can have profound impact on the people we become.

And, again, sometimes I am astounded that we make it, because we start out so soft, and so many things can leave marks on; so many things can happen to us that echo so much further forward into our lives.

Sometimes that trust, we are so obligated to give when we enter the world, is given to the least deserving person possible. My heart has been broken at seeing the rage, anger, sadness and sickness pour from the lives of children because the ones who brought them into the world so utterly and completely failed.  Even children who are given new families, with people that love them inexhaustibly, they still so often are crippled from that trust so early broken.

Maybe we grow up hearing we don’t matter, or we don’t hear anything at all. Maybe we have people who love us dearly, but are still imperfect people desperately trying to love us as perfectly as possible. It can be something as simple as the way parents love each other, or don’t love each other, or fight with each other. And we grow up, and we don’t realize how deeply impacted we are until…we try telling someone what we need, or we feel that crippling anxiety that builds in conflict, or the desperate request of a spouse to just tell them what we are feeling, or what we are thinking.

We experience the loss of those we dearly love, and insist, maybe even believe, we are fine now, it’s over, or, at least we manage, only to find at the worst possible moments, or in the deepest places of their hearts, we are not fine.

We offer our hearts to people, in the trembling hope that they will treat it well; we profess love, seek friendship, and confide secrets, only to have the most tender of places in our beings wounded and bruised and picked apart.

We can go into a night club, to live and to dance; or we can go to a church to hold hands and pray, we break no rule (except in these cases to be black or gay), and a stranger can walk in at any point with a gun and decide who should live and die.

But we are such brave and fragile creature.

Because we still live. We still dance. We still hold hands and pray.

We have so much power to destroy one another; yet we continue on, inviting people into our worlds, with glimmers of that trust we were born with, except this time, knowing full well the opportunities we are giving to people when we do.

Do you realize that?

What an act of defiance, what a force of will, how strongly we push back on the darkness when we do that?

When we go on.

When we speak.

When we hold on.

When we let go.

When we give birth and trust the world with this new tiny life.

When we open our hands to people.

When we lay in rest beside the one we have chosen to love.

When we put pen to paper, or brush to canvas, and pour our heart and soul into something to be offered up to the scrutiny of others.

When we do something that makes our spirit come alive, no matter who tells us “no.”

When we fail.

When we whisper, trembling, barely formed dreams and hopes to someone, for the very first time.

What beautiful, brave and fragile creatures we are. Because these things can destroy us, either momentarily to be rebuilt or for much longer.  We know a single moment can break us, and completely change the trajectory of our lives, but we continue to chase those moments because we hope against hope that the trajectory is a good one.

And recently, more than usual, I have found myself amazed by that.

Amazed by you.


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