He handed me back the bright pink folder. The same folder that I spent one full day and two coffees collecting what seemed like hundreds of files, documents, letters, unopened mail, and notes of all the debt from my broken past. "It's pink because it makes this process a little more enjoyable and fun," I answered back to my lawyer as he smirked while questioning my color choice. I should have also included, "and I ran out of purple". While looking at that folder I realized I would have to carry it on my back when I biked home. I had borrowed a car on my first visit to the law office and I never thought about getting the folder back.
"It's too heavy for my bag!" I thought.
My floral backpack was already broken and I had double knots on both straps supporting the weight of what I was already carrying. Surely the evidence of my brokenness would fall out of my bag and the wind would carry them across the city. "Maybe I could call a friend for a ride?" I wondered. I let these negative thoughts flood my mind for a few short moments, but then I quickly changed my way of thinking. Would I really call a friend for a ride because one pink folder with credit and debt information weighing one pound or less might add too much weight for me to ride home? If God brought me this far then surely I could bear the weight of another pound. The only option was to carry the burden for just a short ride. Jesus helps me to believe in myself and He gives me the confidence to overcome obstacles.
While organizing my backpack and shoving in my bright pink folder along with copies of all the additional documents I had signed over the past hour, I watched a couple walk into the office with a young girl. She must have been three. I couldn't help but think to myself, "They are filing for bankruptcy too. Did they ever not have money for food? Did he lose his job? Was somebody sick? Medical bills?" I wondered what it was like for a man to lead his family into that office. I watched the mother sit with her child. I wanted to hug her. I really wanted to hold her hand and pray with her.
And that's when I realized the beautiful gift I received today. I can feel them hurting. I am also hurting. I am hurting with them and for them because I love them. As I carried my bike down the stairs out of the office, I held back my emotions. As soon as I began riding away the tears began flowing down my face so I prayed for them and anybody else going through financial troubles today. I prayed that they wouldn't feel so alone and that they too would learn to lean on Jesus.
There I was riding my bike with all of my debt on my back and I realized that I will never have to carry these burdens alone. The pain and suffering from a broken relationship, a job I thought I would get, a horrible car accident that totaled my most valuable asset, and all the other painful events from my past or any that come my way in the future will only be circumstances that test my faith. I will never be alone when I have Jesus in my life.
My legs were getting a little sore. I had already biked a few miles to the bank and over to the lawyers office. I looked down at my legs as they were pedaling and pushing me forward. Legs that for years I thought were fat and chubby as I compared them to all other women around me who were always skinnier and more beautiful. The same legs that 40 pounds heavier allowed me to cross the finish line of my first marathon helping me to escape years of sickness and depression. Legs that walked the dusty roads in Kuwait and suffered many wounds and fractures on road marches. Legs that some soldiers wish they still had after having lost them while fighting for this country. Legs that will stay strong for me as I carry little humans into this world someday. I'm so thankful for how Jesus made me. I'm so grateful for my strong legs.
And so I kept crying. As I wiped away my tears, I gazed at all the beautiful things surrounding me. Leaves were every color. Brown, orange, green, yellow, red, and maybe purple if I looked hard enough. Fall is my favorite season. I could feel the cool breeze and the warmth of the sun which makes bike riding something I have fallen in love with. This day was made beautiful just for me. I'm so thankful for beauty and I'm so happy for this day.
My decision to write this today was not planned at all. The words just came to me while bike riding home after filing for bankruptcy.
So far in this life, I have learned that my experiences good or bad are meant to teach me a lesson and to help others. I can feel the pain in other people so much it scares me. Maybe it's because I have encountered so much of it in my own life and/or maybe I just feel so connected to people. I figure why carry around all kinds of memories and experiences of pain, suffering, and healing just to keep them to myself. I want to share love and maybe this is how.
I might not be working in a vocation that allows me to help others but maybe that doesn't even matter. We can all love and help each other wherever we are in this life. This is where I am today. I'm not sure where I'll be next. All I know is that loving people matters.
Living healthy and loving people,