“Hey guys, I have something I need to tell you.”
The silence thereafter inflated into the space between us. It floated awkwardly like a “Happy Birthday” balloon in the middle of a funeral.
My palms were sticky with sweat, and my eyes were stuck on them. I couldn’t look up.
They’ll be disgusted–horrified.
They’ll never look at me the same.
They don’t know. Maybe I should keep it that way. It’s not too late.
I’d never shared what I was about to tell them. I’d swallowed the key to the darkest piece of me and hoped no one would ever have to see. This was the skeleton I’d intended to leave locked in the closet inside my closet and forget it ever existed.
The semester before, I had signed up to join a small group through a local church. The first night I showed up, I was the only non-leader there. And it. Was. Awkward. The I’m-sure-I’m-never-going-back kind of awkward.
The next week I got a text, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to give it another chance. And even though every other thought fought against it, I went. It was rough around the edges, but there was something different about them…
They asked me questions and listened to me.
They cared about the smallest details of my life.
They allowed me to ask questions I didn’t think I was allowed to ask.
They walked with me through my first semester in college, my first experience with faith, and my struggles along the way.
And patiently…gently…they taught me.
Six months later, they sat across from me on the grass behind the university tower as I stared into my hands fumbling over my fear. They felt the weight of my shame and put it on themselves. They found a patch of grass to stare at and let me have all the time I needed to speak. And when I finally popped the silence and spoke my secret, they didn’t turn away in horror. They didn’t cringe in disgust. They looked at me–and at all the mess I was–and they accepted me. They didn’t move on and just pretend I wasn’t broken. They loved me even though I was.
The freedom I felt afterwards, the comfort I felt around them, the trust I had in them was unlike anything I’d ever felt. They knew my darkest secret. They knew why I became her friend. They knew why I convinced her to buy tickets to visit me. They knew I hid that camera in her room. And they still loved me.
And here at HeartSupport, we see you fumbling in your fear, and we feel the weight of your shame. We hear your secrets, and we see your scars. And we–just like Jesus–look at you when you finally look up, and we. love. you.