{day four}

I remember the bench and the cool morning air.

I remember the words spoken to all in attendance.

“What name do you call yourself that  truly

does not fit or define you?”

Labels like:

fat

lazy

loser

failure

bad mom

weird

friendless

stupid

not good enough

mistake

screw-up

unworthy of love

It had been a long season in the pit.

A patch of life when even leaving town would

not create enough distance from

what never left my side.

One of those labels had been a

gnawing whisper.

A fear that easily pierced my heart and mind,

yet remained unspoken.

I escaped to that bench in the cool air.

I felt the ugly cry unable to remain within.

I escaped to that bench with a friend.

A friend that knew my road.

My pain.

Who probably sensed what label I chose.

I spoke a few words through sobs.

She sat with me on that bench,

shoulder to shoulder.

She said she had no words.

She sat with me on that bench,

not attempting to solve the problem,

not quoting the perfect verse,

not citing any examples from her life,

just

shoulder to shoulder.

We did leave that bench…

eventually.

We did not leave the bench

with all my problems solved

or with the possibility that returning home would

find miraculous changes.

I left that bench encouraged

because my friend had sat with me

shoulder to shoulder.

She had given me courage to get

through another day of quite possibly

the same as the day before.

When you encourage, you

don’t have to have all the answers

or shoulder the weight of the burden.

The only requirement is to position yourself

shoulder to shoulder

with someone.

Whose shoulder can you plant yourself

beside today?

 

 

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