Kara’s Collection: Cracks in the Veneer

from an article originally posted July 7, 2014...

I live fairly openly broken, but I have the gift of hiding even in the midst of my sharing so openly here. I do not, in fact, have it all figured out, together, or tidy in any way, shape, or form. I work to keep my brokenness at a certain distance so I can function through the day, but I am learning, learning how to live beautifully broken and function at the same time.

I want to introduce you to a beautiful woman I met last week at Latigo. She was beautiful in every sense of the word. She was gentle and soft towards her children and she loved her man so big. One evening all four of us found ourselves around the dinner table. We shared our story and we heard theirs as well. They too have wrestled cancers many painful blows. Her John was the one that fought cancer nearly 5 years ago. They were refined and made beautiful through their journey. I simply could not get enough of them both. John was a new rider as well; we were often in the same riding group laughing at our foibles and mistakes trying to figure out how to post to trot—a painful learning for most men. John was self-deprecating and light-hearted and brought me to tears laughing while we were trying to learn.

After one dinner, where the four of us were with another couple and telling our stories, I stood and apologized for bringing tears to the woman of the couple that heard our stories. Outside afterwards, John and Jo pulled me aside and gently admonished me saying, Kara, never apologize for bringing something real and meaningful to a conversation. This world is filled with shallow. Be fearless in sharing your story with another, and never, never apologize. They were exactly right.

Sometimes people tell me this place is hard, my words too much, the pain of my story too hard to read. I struggle to know what to do when I hear such things. I simply think, This is the only story I have to write. So I love you for reading, for sharing my story, for praying, but if it’s too much, please feel no obligation to remain.

After our last lunch, many tears were shed in saying goodbye to such amazing friends and the staff at Latigo. We were all in the kitchen hugging and thanking the owners and many were making plans to return the following year together.

Jo brought me to the front porch. She noticed I was fighting to be brave. She simply turned to me and said, Kara, I know you are hurting hearing everyone talking about returning next year when you don’t know if you have a next year. Then she wrapped me up in a hug and let me cry. My veneer didn’t work with Jo. She had the ability to see what was happening behind my veneer. The tears were safe in coming, and I could weep to my new friend that she knew the crack that needed grace to seep into. She knew I was inwardly battling so much pain. She was a gift to me. She and her entire family. Goodness, all the families that week were such a gift to our hurting and weary hearts.

There are those rare few people that can spot those cracks in my veneer and feel like a safe place to shatter. Jo was one of those rare gifts to my heart. She didn’t want to make a project of me, she didn’t want to fix me, she simply knew I needed to cry and gave me that place to cry. I already miss her and her man, and my littles miss her littles. I miss her lovely English accent that makes everything sound gentle and beautiful. I want her to come to my house and ask where the loo is and say she likes my cupboard—like only she can say cupboard. We will have a cup of something together and laugh deeply and cry when we need to cry. What an uncommon gift to make such friends in a week. I think I cried with nearly everyone that week. The cracks of our story were just so near to the surface. But it was a safe place for tears. Oh Latigo, I miss you.

Who is a special someone in your life that sees when the tears need to be shed and know when you need to laugh? What a gift those friends are to my heart. I love you, Jo; I’m so much richer for having met you and your family! Is there someone in your life that you are being called to pursue and be a safe place for today? Are you fighting to live authentically, hiding your hurt behind a brave veneer?