Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Anonymous Note-Leaver

(This post contains explicit language that may be offensive to some readers.  However, I believe in engaging this world wherever I find it and bringing it the full measure of grace He's given me to pour out in the hopes that someone, somewhere, may come to know what Love is.)

No, I haven't turned in my friend in his tough times, though I'm pained to watch him doing what he's doing.  I'm still trying to bust him, and I'm hoping that the strong love of good friends can pull his heart of out this tailspin before we have to do something so harsh.

I have told him flat-out, though, that he needs to take his heart in his own hands and hold it.  It's clear to see that as so many of us do, he's abandoned his heart and is now in a place where he needs to deal with it and now can't.  He's got to take it back so that he can feel the weight of holding it and then choose to give it away.

Advice from an anonymous note-leaver.

I spent a good deal of my life leaving anonymous notes in some very specific places, notes that would only hint at a heart in bondage and beg the world to come and find me.  Someone.  Anyone.  Come and find me.  And I have been blessed to be surrounded by some pretty slick detectives (or as is more likely, I was never that good at anonymity anyway) who have always seemed to find me in my messed-up heart and come after me.

When you leave anonymous notes, it's a form of crying out for sure, and while it seems at least half-active, it's resignedly passive.  It's asking someone to drop in and rescue you, to come and put some credibility to your situation by acknowledging that this had to be your heart, then to pull you out of it and set you on some solid ground so that maybe for a little bit, you can breathe.  Your only role as an anonymous note-leaver is to note...and then leave...and then wait.  It's not really getting at the heart of anything.

Least of all yours.

No matter how many times someone might dare rescue you, they can't answer what your heart hasn't owned.  And until you sign your name to that note and say, "This is me.  This is me and it hurts and I don't know what to do with myself and this sucks and I need somebody," you're not owning it.  You're hoping someone will own you.

It's a subtle difference, and when you're looking for your place in this world, it's easy to think that what you need is for someone to own you.  So that at least you have them.  But it's so much greater to own your own heart so that you can make some choices about your place in this world.  Then, you get to be intentional about things.

The best answer you can give an anonymous note-leaver is a big "nuh uh."  No.  You've got something going on in your heart, then own it.  You own it, and we'll start looking at what we can do about that.

After an outpouring of love, dozens of commitments to stand with him, and an absolute show of strength to help this young man through these tough times, my friend has sadly responded in the new vein of the anonymous note-leaver: the emo post.  

If you use social media, you've no doubtedly seen this.  It's when someone posts some over-the-top, defiant, hate-filled, hurt-filled, self-deprecating, alienating statement that only begs the entire friends list to come out of the woodwork and ask, "What's going on?"  It's a statement that, though not anonymous, is precisely the same: it is a heart crying out and saying come and get me.  A person looking for a place and begging to be owned.  A person not owning their own heart.

And tacked on to the end of this from the toughest of tried hearts is often a response like my friend's.  After a slew of comments of love and support and invitations for him to come to this soft place of landing we're trying to create for him, his answer was pointed:

"F*** it.  F*** it all."

Of course, he used the real words.  And here's where I draw the line.  Because one anonymous note-leaver to another, I know it's a front.  It's a cop-out.  And it's a surrender.  He's not giving his heart away; he's abandoning it.  And that's not cool.

But what can you say to a four letter word?

"Alright, my friend.  You want to spend your life f***ing the world?  You'd better get started because there's a lot of world out there and you're going to be a busy man.  But don't be surprised when your reputation precedes you and you find out the world knows only one thing about you: you're easy."  Because when you set about to f*** the world, you're not pimpin' it.  The world owns you.

Maybe that's what you think you've wanted.  But there is such a better way, and it starts with you owning your heart.  It starts with you taking this chance to hold your own heart and figure out what all this hurt is and what you - with everything in you - are going to decide to do with it.  Then, yes.  Maybe life still sucks and this world is still hard and things still hurt and you still don't know what the answer's gonna be.  But you hold your heart and that means you get to be intentional about it.  You get to be intentional about living a life you'd want to sign your name to.

And often, as God blesses these things as such, you get to be intentional about giving your heart away. Which is so much better than abandoning it.

So nuh uh.  No.  You've got something going on in your heart, then own it.  Then we'll talk about what we maybe want to do with that.

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