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closerhereAs of late, I’ve thought of how much I wanted to share a story, but then the same thing happened – time (or rather a lack of it) got between me and the page.

But yesterday, something happened that moved me to make the time. As I was entering the parking garage near my office after work, I heard something – a low moan. It was so sad, and in retrospect, I should have known what it was before I got there. A month or so back, a lady I work with lost her husband, quite tragically. Since then, I’ve talked with her a number of times and provided books, a full body hug, and assurance that we don’t grieve what we don’t love, yet surely love is worth the price.

She was sitting in her car with the window down and, quite literally, howling. I’m certain a number of people had come that way and been immobilized by the sight of such anguish.

It would have been easy for me to do the same. She hadn’t seen me and traffic lately has been horrendous. She would have understood. I, on the other hand, might not have. I would have reflected long after I began my drive home, on what I could have done differently.

Why am I here?

It’s such an easy question, but rarely is it easily answered. However, more and more, I find that simply posing the question can lead me to choices with little room for regret.

Regardless our place of arriving, there are truths, actions and consequences that directed our path. What I’ve come to understand that even false actions, half-truths and unexpected consequences can bring us to a place of healing, gratitude, and wisdom. Perhaps it’s a fool who believes all things happen for a reason, but I don’t mind saying that some of my greatest lessons were the result of bad decisions. In many a darkness, I have realized the light I held within – that couldn’t be lost. What I view as my real beauty are my scars, the places made stronger by the breaking.

And it is those same things that allow me the willingness to move out of the ‘receiving line’ and into the ‘giving line’. In that line, I’ve come to understand that receiving is most abundant to those unafraid to give. The measure of what I’ve lost to what I’ve gained is unparalleled. Just when I think I couldn’t possibly love more, another day comes – and I do.

Why am I here?

I’m here to make the world a little better. Even in my brokenness, I can do that. I can listen with something other than my ears and feel with something other than my checkbook. I can fill a night up with gratefulness for a moment offered only to me.

The garage was growing dark as I held her, allowing her to cry into me, the sound somehow made less by the sharing. She looked at me, smiled as tears flowed, and asked, ‘why are you here?’

‘I’m here for you. Tell me a story.’

for days before
I found you here
years without your name
to warm my lips
a prayer I couldn’t raise
was mine to speak
of pain I knew
was never mine to keep
a darker night
where once I passed
miles before you came

. . .