You're exhausted. You've practically been crawling the last several miles--one tough yet shaking hand over the other. You're surviving--but barely. You can't go much farther; but is there ever going to be an end?
You're starving. You are parched. You can't see anything but the dust of the ground in your face.
How did this happen? How did you get this way? This isn't how it was supposed to be! You've always been doing your best--you thought! Where was the wrong turn? Are you a total screw up? It's so big! How can you even get out of this? Maybe you are a lost cause and this is how it's always going to be. Pain and shaking and eating dust.
There's no one to help. Is there?
You need so much. You need water. You need food. You need clean clothes. You need bandages. You need help standing. You need help seeing the horizon. You need help knowing what road you are on and if it's going where you need it to go. You need all of this yesterday!
But there is something you need even more than all of these.
"John." (Hear the sound of your own name.)
"John. John. You can stop now. You can rest."
What?! No, no, I have to keep going! I'm not there yet! I'm desperate for heaven even though all there is, is hell!
"John. I'm here. I see you. It's enough. You've done enough. You are giving your all."
You stop in spite of your anxiety, wondering if you dare to believe. You quiver, ready to drop, wondering if you really can, wondering what you will lose if you do.
You hear the voice again. "Oh, my goodness, John. How did you do it? That's a crazy ass mountain you just climbed! You are AMAZING!"
I'm what? Ragged breaths. Your mind clears a little as you remember your path and everything you pushed over, under, around, and through.
"Oh, yea . . ." you whisper. "I can stop?"
A small, loving laugh. "Yes, John. You can rest. I'm here." You feel strong enough to timidly look up from the ground and you see a loving, smiling face looking at you directly in the eyes.
Don't they see? you wonder. Don't they see that I'm a mess? Torn and broken?
"What you look like," they answer your thoughts, "is like a person who just climbed a mountain."
"So I'm okay? This way?"
They smile and nod. "Yes. You look glorious. This isn't a catalog photo shoot. This is real life. And you look like you've thrashed it."
"So I'm finished?"
"Well, there's more mountain. There's an amazing view up there that you'll want to see. But I'm here now. You have time to rest. I have food and water and new clothes for you. I have a map for the trail that I'm going to give you. And--we'll go together. It's a little challenging, but you'll have everything you need to make the trip in good time. I have complete confidence that you'll be able to do it. Plus it'll be fun if we're together."
You nod and start to cry a little in deep relief. That's right, you remember. I was on my way to the view. I just forgot.
= = = = = = = = = =
This parable shows the deepest healing need that all human beings have. This need is greater than the need for food or water, even. This need is greater than any detailed healing techniques.
That need is--acknowledgment.
To be seen and heard--witnessed--is unutterably powerful and balm-giving.
Each person needs to know that their struggle--even if it hasn't been graceful--has meaning and is understood by at least one other human being.
As beings--as beings of energy--we take up time and space. We need to feel the peace that the time and space we are taking up with our personal energy is welcomed and wanted in the universe, in the community, by at least one other; no matter what other condition, better or worse, we might meanwhile be in for periods of time.
We need to know--we need to be told and shown--that rather than having to be beautiful in order to have the right to be--instead we are beautiful simply because we are. That everything about us--including our ugly (as believed) struggles--is the grace of a universe that is holding us in its embrace.
We can acknowledge ourselves. I invite you to do so. Acknowledge and thank yourself for what you've had to go through. Lean into that nectar of relief.
But it's also a very powerful cure when we are willing to acknowledge each other. It is my deepest privilege to offer my acknowledgment and witness to you.
You are brave.
You can rest now.
No one could have done more than you have done and are doing with what you have been dealt.
I absolutely know this. There are no exceptions to anyone reading this.
I want to be in a universe that has you in it.
= = = = = = = = = =
If you would like to be immersed in more acknowledgment--and get some nourishment and a map for the continued climb!--I invite you to visit me here.