Brick by brick.

I can see it in your eyes sometimes, on those rare occasions when you accidentally slip up and let your guard down. Those times when the walls tumble down just for a split second and you show me that you are human. That you are hurting too.

Then comes the terror when you realize you have been vulnerable for a millisecond too long. Then your frantic attempt to rebuild those very same walls that had just fallen moments before.

Pain. Pain. Pain. It cuts deep into your bones. Oh, how excruciating, exhausting, unbearable. The load is too heavy, too hard to hold on your own. Won’t you let me help? Won’t you let me carry some of it? I know Someone who could help. I really do.

No. No one has to see your pain. No one has to see how much you hurt. You don’t need help.

More walls. Brick by brick, you build.

Your words cut deep. You inflict pain on others in attempt to rid yourself of the hurt that you feel.

“Look at that fat, Alyson. You need to go to the gym and work on your legs.”

Unleashing your wrath at anyone and everyone around you.

The feeling of power tastes good on your lips. You’re not on the receiving end this time. That feels good.

But still, you have so much anger when you realize the hurt is still there in your own heart.

Oh, so much pain that you feel.

Brick by brick, you continue to build in vain.

I stand back and watch, helpless.

I wish you knew that being a man doesn’t mean building massive walls to mask feelings. I wish you knew that being a man doesn’t mean belittling others in order to make yourself feel more worthy. I wish you knew that the numbness you feel when you run to drugs and alcohol is temporary, fleeting, and toxic. I wish you knew there is a long-term cure for this hurt. I wish I could take all of the pain you feel away. I wish you knew the joy I feel because of Jesus.

Until then, I watch you build, brick by brick. I watch the pain. And I pray that someday it will all change.

Hazy Eyes & Broken Lies.

Violent screams take me back to helpless nights spent listening from above, praying he wouldn’t hit her. Praying he would Just. Stop. Yelling.

“You. Are. Worthless.” he cries. His angry words are meant to cut deep. She swallows his screams and the pit in her stomach grows. Both of them live in twisted realities. He believes that he is somehow better than she. She has allowed the weight of his lies to sink deep into her soul over the years.

She believes that she is worthless.

The door slams. I feel relief flood through my veins, then anger as I realize how much he still scares me. My footsteps are light down the hallway to the bedroom. I know that she’s had too much to drink again. Her eyes are hazy and halfway closed. She stares at the TV, but I know she isn’t actually watching.

She is hurt. She is broken.

Sorrow runs through my veins now. In that moment, I feel so small. There is nothing I can do to make it better. What words can possibly express how deeply I hurt for her? How badly I wish I could make her life better? How much I want her to feel joy again?

She is fragile. She is human. She is trying.

Mama, if you ever read this, I want you to know something. I know how it feels. I know all too well how difficult it is to walk through the deep trenches of sadness and pain. I know all too well the overwhelming numbness when insignificance seems to etch its way onto every single bone.

You are not insignificant. You are not worthless. You are so important.

I have never met anyone whose patience could seemingly stretch across the ocean, whose heart for others is so deep and personal and genuine. Your love is sweet. And you had it right the other night when you said that you’re only human and you’re going to make mistakes. It’s a curse we’re all bound under. No one is exempt. Not a single one of us, yet you are still good. You are good, mom.

And you’re trying, so hard. Let me tell you, that alone makes you significant. The fact that you’re trying brings me hope and inspiration and joy. I hope you know that. I hope you know how proud I am.

I’m just like you. I am fragile, I am human, & I am trying too. I make mistakes like, aaalll the time. And to be completely honest, oftentimes I believe the same lies that you do. Sometimes I believe that I am worthless too… but someone told me once that we exist for the sole purpose of love…to experience it and give it.

I am not worthless because I am loved and I give love.

You have loved me as best as you can over these last 20 years and I wouldn’t exchange that for anything else. You are here and significant and full of worth because you are loved and because of the love you have given me and so many others.

I love you, mom. You are worthy and wonderful and I’m thankful for you. You are not worthless.

The thin place

I remember you here, in this place. This place where the Heavens drop down and flood the ground with goodness and light. This place where your love is tangible through goosebumps in the afternoon and windy whispers in the morning. I remember you here, the way you walked toward me. The way you met me when I was lost & grabbed my hands. So gentle, so steady.

I remember you well.

“I’m ready” I said, my voice so sure, yet my feet failed to follow. I asked you to lead. You asked me to trust.

Hesitation. Fear. Uncertainty. My feet still feel so heavy. Trusting is so dangerous and so hard. Will you catch me? How far of a fall is it? What will it be like?

Your eyes met mine. They were so warm, so full of love. “I will catch you.”

Weight lifted. I walked to the edge, eyes squeezed shut and step out.

The feeling, I remember it well. Free falling into your arms. Your promises were true. You caught me. Green pastures, quiet waters. My soul made new.

I remember you there, in that thin place. The place where you met me and revealed your love. I remember it well.