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In a moment of vulnerability, I invited you into my deepest pain. Pain buried so deeply that few have seen glimpses of it. But for that one vulnerable moment, I opened up to you. I let you into that space where few have been.

Like a special room in a house where only special guests are invited.

I’m not sure what I expected.

A long hug with no questions or suggestions? Quiet empathy? Tears?

I guess I at least subconsciously expected you to take your shoes off before entering this private space. Or at least to spend a little more time wiping the mud off before rushing in.

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I’m not really sure what I expected. But I didn’t prepare or expect to be quickly drilled into answering questions about what my part was to play in my pain, how I caused or contributed to the deepest ache I’ve ever known.

I’m not sure what I hoped for. I just wasn’t prepared for your blunt truth masked as love. I wasn’t prepared for subtle accusations when you only saw the tip of the iceberg. I wasn’t prepared to suddenly feel so much smaller than I already felt opening up to you.

I wasn’t prepared for all these footprints left on the floor of this rarely-entered, protected place.

But I still want to say thank you.

Thank you for the reminder that I need to cradle my own heart gently and be very wise about who I share its deepest aches with. Thank you for reminding me to treasure these feelings and not toss them out at the first hint of safety with someone. I needed to be reminded that these are precious things meant to be shared with those I can trust to hold them safely.

I’m sure you meant well, and I’ll be fine. I just won’t be opening up my heart to you so readily next time.

Because it’s worth finding safe friends to cradle fragile things.

It’s worth finding those who will recognize sacred places, walk gently, and admire the hidden beauty rather than point out all the ways I could make it better.

It’s worth finding those who will simply sit right there beside me and hold me and my whole hurting heart. No judgment or hidden motives.

I won’t close myself up or allow that situation with you to pull me down. I will allow it to gently push me forward, toward those who can help me use my pain to soar.

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And if there’s something tough you’re going through, I’ll be there for you. Because the medicine that helps heal a heart the most is empathy and love. You reminded me of that without even meaning to, so . . . thank you.

If I’m ever invited into your pain, I’ll leave my shoes at the door.

I’ll follow your lead, and thank you for the gift of being invited into such a precious place.

“Carry each other’s burdens . . .” (Galatians 6:2).
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

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