" Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides." Anne Lamott - Face Book, April 2015
For a couple of days I have been casting my line like a fisherman in promising waters hoping to snag something I wanted to write about.
My line kept coming up empty - until I read Anne Lamott's latest Facebook essay. She makes a list of things she has learned before her 61st birthday falls on her this month. I could relate to most of them but # 4 - this excerpt - sent me back to 1962. How can that be 53 years ago? It is as clear as a bell when I open to the Chapel Hill chapter in the book that is my memory.
That's the first time I heard the advice - " don't compare your insides to my outsides."
from a new and very wise friend in Chapel Hill, NC. I was young and quite crazy at the time. A mother of three youngsters under seven I had recently given birth to our fourth, a Downs Syndrome child whose heart would not sustain her. Life felt like an elastic band had snapped and my clothes were tangled around my feet as I stumbled through the darkness of grief trying to regain my balance.
My new friend reached out to support me as I toddered through the days. One day I lashed out, "you don't understand!" and she pulled my choke chain with "don't judge my outsides by your insides." Even behind the shutters on my mind I understood the truth of what she was saying. I was not the only one in the world struggling to survive.
How would we make it through without them?
I hope I am as good a friend as those who have stood by me.