Today I have the privilege, no, the honor of introducing you to a good friend of mine, Chris Hall. I don’t think I’ve ever told him this, but he was one of my inspirations for writing more, and it was that inspiration that eventually got me into blogging. I first met Chris when I came out to Gap with University Master’s Commission. I worked very closely with his dad, and made quick friends with his youngest brother. Since then, we have gotten to know each other better, had good talks, and been a proverbial shoulder to cry on when life sucks, and help each other fight through things. This guy has my utmost respect, and I am honored to have him here today. So, without any further adieu, I give you, Chris Hall:
It seems that despite my efforts to do otherwise I know quite a few people. And despite my endeavors to ignore them I have come to know the pain that so many of them weather.
What a fragile race we are. I suspect there were times I shut people out because I knew that to really, truly know them would be to know their pain.
I think some hearts are broken because they’re meant to be that way. I don’t mean broken in a romantic sense. I’m not talking heartbreak after a break-up. I mean heartbroken in the sense that your heart, the core of who you are, becomes broken because the weight of the agony in the world around you is too much to shut out.
For the most part I was able to grow up in a relatively sheltered world and I liked it that way. That’s not to say that I didn’t experience my share of grief and pain. I have a father I saw only a handful of times and haven’t had contact with since I was 15, but I was fortunate enough to have another man step into my life and adopt me as his own son and there are days I still don’t understand how he did that.
As I passed through adolescence into adulthood the terrible, shattering agonies that so many of you know slowly began to hit closer to home until I eventually endured my own. My heart broke. The core of who I was cracked, irreparably, and I knew that I could never go back. There was a day I was standing in my parents’ kitchen, the burden seeming too much to bear, and my dad said something to me that I’ve repeated to myself so many times through so many situations since then. He said, “Are you going to stay in this place or are you going to fight?”
Questions like that are one of the reasons I love my dad so much.
And I fought. I fought through the doubts that plagued me in the still of the night. I fought through the careless words of well intentioned people and I fought through the idea that I was alone through it all.
Shit happens, as the saying goes, and I believe that so often that’s where God meets us. Through my own trials I’ve come to know a God who is more faithful than I ever dreamed. I don’t believe He causes the storms that leave us battered and bruised, but I know He is present in them.
A friend told me recently that he feels like a coward. He said he knew he was allowing fear to rule his life and that made him a coward. To this friend there was nothing worse that he could be.
And it broke my heart.
His burden became my own and to leave him with it was unthinkable. I told him getting knocked down by fear didn’t make him a coward but staying down would. I said I’d seen him take blow after blow only to try again, only to keep fighting. He’s not a coward. If anything he’s a warrior.
I see that in so many people. I see the thought of giving up pass behind their eyes as it crosses their mind and it breaks my heart. We are a fragile race, but when we fight we do not fight alone.
I never wanted to break. I never wanted endure the pain that so many do but now that I have there is no going back and I know I’m better for it.
As you read these final words I’m sure that you know what heartache feels like. I’m sure you know what those places of desperation look like and so I leave you with my dad’s challenge:
Are you going to stay in this place or are you going to fight?