A Reminder

I was having a hard time the other day, too wrapped up in myself to be effective at anything. In my soul-searching, I found this site: http://www.twloha.com. To Write Love On Her Arms. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping youth battling depression seek help rather than harm. They believe that “rescue is possible, and are committed to communicating hope to others who know the daily struggle of living in a broken world.” They called their organization what they did because of a story beautifully and powerfully written, much like any blog post you might stumble across. In the story, a young person came across a friend who was so torn up inside she felt the need to tear up her outsides – she wrote “fuck up” on her arm with a razor blade. The friend wished instead to write love on her arms, and this organization is the evolution of that wish.

They say:

“You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you’re part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters.

We live in a difficult world, a broken world. My friend Byron is very smart – he says that life is hard for most people most of the time. We believe that everyone can relate to pain, that all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments. You need to know that you’re not alone in the places you feel stuck.

We all wake to the human condition. We wake to mystery and beauty but also to tragedy and loss. Millions of people live with problems of pain. Millions of homes are filled with questions – moments and seasons and cycles that come as thieves and aim to stay. We know that pain is very real. It is our privilege to suggest that hope is real, and that help is real.

You need to know that rescue is possible, that freedom is possible, that God is still in the business of redemption. We’re seeing it happen. We’re seeing lives change as people get the help they need.  People sitting across from a counselor for the first time. People stepping into treatment. In desperate moments, people calling a suicide hotline. We know that the first step to recovery is the hardest to take. We want to say here that it’s worth it, that your life is worth fighting for, that it’s possible to change.

Beyond treatment, we believe that community is essential, that people need other people, that we were never meant to do life alone.

The vision is that community and hope and help would replace secrets and silence.

The vision is people putting down guns and blades and bottles.

The vision is that we can reduce the suicide rate in America and around the world.

The vision is that we would learn what it means to love our friends, and that we would love ourselves enough to get the help we need.

The vision is better endings. The vision is the restoration of broken families and broken relationships. The vision is people finding life, finding freedom, finding love. The vision is graduation, a Super Bowl, a wedding, a child, a sunrise.

The vision is people becoming incredible parents, people breaking cycles, making change.

The vision is the possibility that your best days are ahead.

The vision is the possibility that we’re more loved than we’ll ever know.

The vision is hope, and hope is real.

You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story.”

These were words I desperately needed to hear, arriving when I didn’t know I needed to hear them. I borrow them here, to honour past, present and future. My needs aren’t quite as dramatic as those of many who visit that site. But I’ve known that depth of despair, and found my way out. Now, I just occasionally skirt about the edges, having a much greater appreciation for my own warning signs and limits – and resources and strengths. I’ve learned how to write love on my own arms, and to have it written when need be.

But others aren’t as lucky, or simply haven’t yet tread the miles I have. It is my eternal hope that my words bear witness; that they too, write love. Because the world is broken. But I do not aim to stand idly by.

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