Moi aussi

(The following entry reflects on Shauna Niequist’s Mother’s Day message “Loving Like a Mother.” If you missed it or would like a refresher of it, both the video and the transcript are available to you.)

“...this is the invitation for every one of us. Bravery and generosity. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Show up and give—over and over and over. I’m someone who. What you have is not for you—it’s for the world. And not just the good things. God can use everything in your life, and He can use your pain, and He can turn it into a purpose to help and heal someone else. None of us were made to do it alone. And the fact that we don’t have to carry all of this alone is the most beautiful and freeing thing I can think of.”

C. S. Lewis wrote, “Friendship ... is born at the moment when one [hu]man says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself...’”

Friendship. Other words for it? mutual attachment, bond, union, unity, intimacy. And it may not show in the thesaurus with them, but life. (Maybe that’s where life is born—when our façades are torn, as the song goes.) Hearing, “Me, too,” does something to you, to your soul, when it is saying, when it’s showing, you are not alone. I’m with you. And I understand intrinsically. It is a two-way healing, I should think.

Truthfully, though? I don’t enjoy the idea of being the one to say first, “I’m someone who.” Because what if no one says, “Me, too”? What if it turns out you really are alone and now, to boot, someone else knows? Because not only did you not bring healing to another but you brought the opposite to yourself.  

It would be brilliant if this next line said fear is unfounded, risk imagined. But it doesn’t say that (spoiler), since it isn’t true. Sometimes, you’ll say, “I’m someone who,” and the reply will be, “Not me” or “I don’t understand” or “I don’t need or want that.” And that is why it’s brave, then. That is why it’s generous.

It’s something when you hear a message saying what you’ve already been hearing in some way. Of late, I had started to hear, “Me, too” in unexpected places, over unexpected things—things where, on the contrary, “Me, too,” was what I least expected, but the need to say, “I’m someone who” had grown too great.

Sometimes, it seems, what you fear is friendship loss, the best that you can hope for is a mutual appreciation or respect (even if not an understanding or a unity), but what you get is friendship, what you get is healing. And I, too, find that the fact that we don’t have to carry all of this alone is the most beautiful and freeing thing. So now I want to hope that, in the end, the times where “friendship [isn’t] born” and “Me, too” isn’t heard, they’re still worth having said, “I’m someone who.”