For a world in a hurry, it’s hard to stop. Even the all of two minutes it takes to nuke our dinners seem a lengthy wait. We can’t stop. We must keep going so as not to miss out.
But, what if our stopping could be the lifeline that pulls a loved one out of despair?
The internet is awash with stories of people’s traumas. Their brokenness. Their fears. Their helplessness and hope for better. There are all these stories of people crying out. When emotional pain closes in, strangulating their gusto for life. Dismissed as unworthy of friendship, they grow cold in isolation, reaching for a connectedness blockaded by distrust.
So many misjudged prisoners of misunderstandings weighed down by pangs of guilt that ought to have never found them. Magnets of imaginary failure. Blind to their untapped capacity to add value. Facing rejection, character assassination, abandonment, other and self-neglect, cycles of trauma. They live in fear of vibrant hope and are yet too terrified of despair. Thus, they reach out, ‘Can anyone hear me? Does anyone see me? Will anyone stop? For me?’
Will anyone stop? For me?
In the past, people maintained a stoic elegance about their traumas. It was their cross to carry because everyone had to cope. To be otherwise was to be weak. To invite ridicule. But all that is gone now.
The motion pictures invited people out into the open to view all the traumas occupying rent-free suites in their minds. Thespians demonstrated our traumas on screen. Opening up their imaginary lives, they thrust us into real parts of ours we had suppressed or dismissed. Their roles beckoned us to re-immerse ourselves in our trauma. To investigate it, letting all the negative experiences buried deep within afflict our souls afresh.
We said some scenes were triggering, and they were. But the power of seeing other humans immersed in our trauma gave it form. Hearing of it from outside of ourselves invited us to observe it, re-live it, and acknowledge it so that we could speak of it. It was now in the light, no longer a dark secret shrouded in shame. It was now shared, which lightened the burden of carrying it alone.
And so, we became bold. We found the words. We began to speak out.
As we spelled our trauma, weaving its fragile threads of sorrow into the world-wide-web, we posed a question in the megabytes; ‘Will anyone stop? For me?’
Little did we know that would be the incredible thing: that when we spelled out our trauma, we stopped for ourselves. We stopped owning the trauma, beating ourselves up, and justifying its free occupancy of our minds. We stopped to take a fresh inventory of what the trauma was, what it had done in us, what it had given or taken away, how it had changed us.
We stopped using trauma as a shield to hide behind whenever healing beckoned us. We stopped to check the trajectory our life had taken, propelled by this trauma. We stopped to dispossess the trauma of its voice — its very power– so that we could chart a new, life-filled course for our lives.
We spat out our trauma with every word we spoke, every paragraph we penned. But still, there were the moments of doubt, relapses into self-pity, because the wounds etched onto our identity by trauma had not yet healed. They still hurt.
And so, still, we asked, “Will anyone stop? For me?”
Stop to see the essence of my being despite the trauma. Stop to see my innocence, and my rise above victimhood. Stop to see my beauty, peering from amidst the scars. Stop to help me silence the lies, my truths are not enough.
Stop to uncover who I am, past the façade of charisma. Stop to invite me in, and help me subdue rejection. Stop to offer comfort, and get me through today. Stop to embrace my soul, it has been cold for some time. Stop to pause with me, in reassuring silence.
We stop in our thoughts, our to-do lists, our media consumption. We stop in our pursuit of money, our fear of missing out, our unbridled consumerism. We stop the discontentment, the comparing, and the cravings. We stop the ads.
We stop the apathy, the dismissiveness, the entitlement, the victimhood, the complaining, and trade our confusion for clarity. We stop long enough to see the real people in the stories we read. And realize that even on the internet, we’re immersed in a community.
“Even if it feels as if you have nothing to offer, I hope that you still stop and say, “I have nothing but time, for you.” “
We stop to hear, to understand, to empathize, to reassure, to comfort, and relish the camaraderie of commiserating together. We stop to be strong for, to care, to include, to embrace.
We stop with a memory, a word, a look, a phone call, a message, an invitation. We stop with acknowledgment, affirmation, celebration, input. We stop with service, a gift, a smile, and presence. We stop with love, hope, intention, sacrifice.
We stop with courage because it’s never easy to stop.
We stop to notice, to apologize, to forgive, to heal, to enrich relationships. We stop to give form to offense and reshape it into beauty.
We stop to connect, to enjoy, to laugh, to cry, to create. We stop to absorb life so we can let it flow out.
There is so much we can do when we stop, and see, and reach out. But first, we must stop. That is the hardest part.
Who will you stop for, today? What will you offer them when you do?
I hope you offer encouragement. I hope you offer presence. Even if it feels as if you have nothing to offer, I hope that you still stop and say, “I have nothing, but time for you.”
It’s the month of love. Stop for someone today. Share a love that stops.