I remember standing in the tiny cottage kitchen with the light orange cabinets that my grandmother loved from the moment she first peered through the windows. I remember the sunny day and the breeze and the lake outside. And I remember feeling deathly afraid.
That little cottage was usually one of my safe places, a soul nourishing space in which the stones and the soil and the deep, cold lake all spoke to my soul, filling in the parched places, nourishing me from head to toe.
But on this day, as I looked out towards the sunporch, it did not feel safe.
I felt protected by the U shaped arrangement of the kitchen—fridge, sink, counter, stove, counter, but I did not want to venture out to take the twenty or so odd steps it would require to reach my father, who was lying on the top bunk of the sunporch – reading, or sleeping, or staring out the window, unaware of my fear.
The thing is, if you met him, you would tell me that my father isn’t that scary, not scary at all, actually—a bit stern at times, with strong opinions about right and wrong, but trustworthy and loving, with a boyish enjoyment of outdoor adventures that's contagious. Many times in my childhood he had personified safety for me. But now I was a young woman, with a child of my own and there was something I needed to say to him, something I didn’t think he’d like to hear.
Isn’t it odd how scary a few words can be?
The funny thing is, I don’t even remember now what it was that I needed to say. But I remember the fear, the incredible terror, I felt at the thought of speaking my truth.
Not sharing who I really was or what I really thought was my safe harbor. But lately, something bigger had been calling me out into the unknown dangers of the wide expanse of the seas.
I am not a natural adventurer.
I know how terrifying it can feel to contemplate speaking your truth out loud to someone who really matters to you, someone who is not likely to agree with or appreciate your truth, who perhaps might even judge you as wrong, or bad, not worth fighting for, or even destined for hell.
Perhaps they will not understand. Perhaps the conversation will create a chasm between you that can never be crossed. Perhaps, you think, you will not survive the storm.
I know what it feels like to be so afraid that you think you cannot possibly speak what is true.
But I also know that it’s worth the risk.
Because while I remember the terror of that moment, and many others, when I have risked speaking out loud words that I feared would lead to rejection, I also remember the heavy darkness of depression that arrived regularly in my life for decades when I made a habit of silence.
As I see it now, that depression was a well-disguised harbinger of light, sent to help me to see my way out of Safe Harbor of Silence into the Seas of Living Life.
In that moment, as I walked those steps across the wide expanse of the tiny cottage, I was pushing just a few feet away from shore.
But those steps did not feel tiny to me. And your step is not tiny for you.
Give yourself credit for your incredible courage.
And feel the freedom of the open seas.
Here’s to thriving.