I once stood in a room awash in the palest light falling tired through worn sheer curtains.
And one woman stood in front of that window, cupping her child like she was holding a part of her heart, and I could hear her singing this lullaby, like it was her baby’s heartbeat, like it was all the questions pounding in our broken hearts:
When I am lost, who will come and find me?
When I forget who I am, who will come and remind me?
When life tries to break me, who will come and remake me?
Who knew how long and loud those three questions would reverberate through my weary veins? For months, I’ve been there. Who knew that everything would turn around to be about those three haunting heart beats? Find me, remind me, remake me?
You can love your life and your people and feel the strange, lingering ache of loneliness in your bones. If you were crumbling a little bit every day — who would take the time to come find you and remind you?
Who would stop what they’re doing to come see how your heart was beating, how you were being brave to keep being?
So many people just trying to get somewhere, to get something done, they don’t really have time for anyone.
We can all have longer to-do lists than we think have time to love.
I have stood in rooms and been startled by this feeling that had lodged in my heart without me inviting it in, without it ever introducing itself — but there it was:
It can be terrifying to feel the singular loneliness of feeling deeply unknown.
You can stand in crowded, loud rooms of tinkling glasses, flowing with raucous laughter and smooth lines, and you can wonder when that feeling will end — or wonder if you have always lived with a low-grade loneliness.
The poverty that’s most easily forgotten but most deeply felt is the poverty of friendship.
While the February winds blew in here the other week, I sat with a woman and a cup of steaming tea and maybe these days we’re all just looking for safe places more than ever. Maybe right now, we’re all parched for safe people.
Now, I had sipped my dark Earl Gray and I had told her I was just fine and she had looked up and smiled:
“It’s never fine to say you’re just fine.
Real friendship says: You have a safe place at the table — to lay your whole heart down on the table.”
So I’d exhaled into her smile and aren’t we all just looking for a safe place these days — and the words spilled:
“You know why you’ve become a safe place for me?
Safe people let you come unmasked, unafraid, unreserved.
Truly safe people let you come with your truest self — and truly accept you.” The wind’s whistling around the window and the steam from the tea is rising.
“That’s rare. Because usually? Usually people want their own agenda — more than they want to hear your authentic heart.
Usually, we want other’s hearts to be a certain way, beat a certain way — so we can have our own way.” How many times have I done this?
It’s hard — to let people’s hearts just get to beat the way they are — and safely hold them as they are.
Sometimes, we try to manipulate hearts to beat the way we want — rather than letting people’s hearts communicate what they need.
It takes courage just to listen to a heart — exactly as it is — and not try to manipulate its beat.
Sometimes it’s tempting to drum our thinking into others — instead of letting people march to their own drum.We get to be like Jesus to people as they march to their own drum. And it’s only Jesus who gets to change drums.
It’s strange how the world, your day, can feel like a minefield. I tell that to my friend.
I don’t tell her how there’s this lump burning like an ember in my throat, and I’m getting weary of being brave, how health needs for your children can chafe you a bit raw, how adoption is this beautifully messy renovating of your world, how every step forward can feel like battling hurricane winds and the whole world around you can feel like it’s fracturing angry and polarizing and loud.
And she whispers it to me:
“Stego — I will always be your stego.”
Stego — it’s shorthand for: I’ll be your safe place.
How can one word mean — what we all need?
“It’s a Greek word that comes from that verse “Love bears all things…” Love stegos all things.
“To bear,” stego in the Greek — stego literally means a thatch roof.
Love bears all things like a roof bears the wind & the rain and the winter & the winds. Love is a roof.” ~The Broken Way
Stego — it’s short hand for: I’ll be like a roof to you. I’ll be like a home to you. I’ll be a safe place when you feel like you have no place.
When you need a place to go — I’ll be your stego.
When you’re tired of how the winds blow — You can count on me as stego.
When you feels like life’s been whipped into a tornado — you have a place to go, because I’m always, always, always your stego.
Love bears all things because love is a roof, love is making a safe place, love is always feeling like there’s a home to come in out of winds, love is stego.
It comes like the quietest breath through the spruce trees standing in the ebbing snow:
People have broken hearts — so expect brokenness.
People have broken hearts — so accept brokenness.
The world may feel broken and the headlines may feel loud but there are people who break the winds, who are a roof, who are Stegos in storms.
The February winds in the orchard keep warming, the sun braving winter, growing stronger — a testament that winds and winters and ways can always change.
And the reaching limbs of the spruce trees are their own kind of stego — making places that break the wind.
You can see all the lost sparrows gathering there safe.
The Stego life — that’s changed my life: the unexpected, life-transforming revolution of everything, when we took The Broken Way.
Come encounter God in the next two weeks with Rebekah Lyons, Christy Nockels, and I? We’d absolutely love to meet you: Winterville, NC; Nashville, TN; Cordova, TN; Sugar Land, TX; Arlington, TX; Tulsa, OK; Leawood, KS; Eau Claire, WI; Naperville, IL; and Lynchburg, VA.
Let’s live broken and free: brokenandfreetour.com