According to Myers Briggs, I'm an INFJ. I'm 78% introverted and I process things internally. It's difficult for me to open up to people, but I care deeply about others. I tend to process things I'm going through by reading nonfiction books that attempt to answer the big questions I'm asking. Or maybe they don't, but they wonder out loud with me. Over the last year and a half I have been learning to love who I am. I've always been very conflicted with myself; I've always felt like I don't belong, like no one understands me. And maybe it's true that I'm difficult to understand, but that doesn't mean I can't belong.
There have been so many things happening around me that this book, If You Feel Too Much, came at the perfect moment. I've sat and listened to friends share their pain, trying to hold back their tears. I've seen a man stand on the ledge of a bridge, ready to jump. I've heard stories of innocent lives being taken. And in the past few months, I've said goodbye to more friends than I can count. I know my friends are following their calling and I know that's not a sad thing, but for me it is so bittersweet. And in the middle, in the mess, I'm attempting to understand it. I'm trying to understand why, when I finally feel at home, is everything being turned upside down? Why am I losing my people when I'm just starting to feel less alone? Why is there so much hurt all of the time?
Jamie's words are helping me process. Because the truth is I do feel too much. And while it is sometimes a burden, I'm so grateful to be able to understand others on a level most people can't. I'm grateful I can understand that man on the bridge and feel his despair, because I feel it too sometimes. I'm grateful to be able to listen to and love my friends in their hurt, because I hurt too. And I'm grateful to be able to look at my friends and smile through my tears as they leave, because it's exactly how I feel. I feel too much, and I'm grateful for Jamie's words because they help me feel less alone.
Please, read this book. And if you feel alone, please know there are people out there who get it, who feel it too. Please know that there is always hope. Check out Jamie's nonprofit, To Write Love On Her Arms, www.twloha.com for help. Or contact me. Please, whatever you do, don't remain silent.
It's impossible for me to choose just one quote from this book as a favorite, but this is one I have been coming back to over the past few weeks.
"i don't know a lot, but i've come to believe the following:
The world is broken. Our bodies break eventually. Our minds and hearts can break as well. We lose things in this life. We lose relationships. We lose people. And so a lot of folks live with a lot of pain. Much is mystery but God asks us to love, not just when it's easy and not just when a certain Scripture fits. What does it look like to love someone who lives in a place you've never been? When there are no words? Or what about allowing someone to love you when you feel completely alone, like no one can relate?
Beyond that, maybe it's better not to fake it, not to offer something cheap. For the rest of us still here, with air in our lungs and tears in our eyes, perhaps we are meant to simply meet one another in the questions. Though the price will be the heartache of loss - for we can't control when or how an ending comes - what a privilege that God allows us to connect with other people in this life, to be known and to be loved so we do not walk alone. Perhaps friendship - the deep kind, the best kind - perhaps it is a miracle."