To my friend and fellow wanderer in this wilderness,
I wanted to write you this letter because I know you’ve been clinging to the end of your rope, digging your fingernails into jagged holds until they break and bleed, desperate to not fall. I know you’re so damn tired you can hardly stand anymore. I can’t imagine how scared you are every time you leave the house wondering whether this is the time he gets away and never comes back.
I know the bills wash up like tsunami waves against your doors and sometimes all you have until you get another paycheck is the change lying around your house and what little room is left on your credit cards. I know what you once had but gave up because that’s what you knew had to be done to be the parent he needs you to be. I know the heartache and hurt seeps up out of the ground nearly every day threatening to drown you and all you love.
The fact that you are still here is a testament to your strength. You are relentless even when you are on the ground exhausted. The ragged marks where you clawed the ground, the tracks where your knees dragged, they proclaim the tenacity in your heart. When everything screams at you to quit, you don’t. Every time you thought you couldn’t take any more, you bore down and kept fighting. You are the lion protecting her young. You are kind and generous, sometimes to the point of giving away too much of yourself. Yet when the odds pile up against you, you know how to rip the f&$#ing heart out of life and stomp on it.
You inspire me. I wanted you to know that.
I know that doesn’t help you all eat or pay bills. I know nothing I have said or could say will change much. But I wanted you to know that you are enough, just like you are right now. And you will be enough for whatever lies ahead.
I know you likely don’t believe this, but we believe in you. You inspire many. Many of them – the ones who know the goodness and strength of your heart – would walk to the very edge of doom and beyond with you.
I am not saying all this to blow sunshine up your shorts. That’s not my way, nor is it yours. I can’t take any of this heartache and struggle away from you. I can’t say when or if it will ever stop. We can stand with you no matter what, but no one can stand in your place. This is your cross to bear and ours. There are many steps in this journey we each have to make on our own. For that I am sorry. I would fix it if I could.
I want with all my heart to tell you all of this will turn out OK. I wish I could tell you all this wandering in the wilderness will end someday and we’ll arrive in some land – promised or something else – where we can stop being afraid all the time. We know the only promise is the one we’ve made and strive to make again every day to our children, our families, and ourselves, and somehow this has to be enough.
I know you don’t believe this either, but you kick ass. That’s your gift. You have plenty of others, but every wonderful talent you have feeds off that. You’ve stared down hell and walked on. You’ve picked yourself up a thousand times. I know you will keep doing it as often as it takes. And every time you do, your generosity never wavers. On determination, guts, and compassion alone, you will make it.
I know you have to face all this while dragging the accumulated burdens of the years behind you. But know that you are a survivor. No matter how many times that challenges and circumstances have knocked you to the ground, you have been and will always be a survivor who stands, fights, and kicks butt.
Regardless of what it takes, you are enough. And we are forever your friends in the journey.