While I didn’t expect a response so quickly (see previous post), the content of the response was of no surprise. The very next morning I woke up to this text:
First, good morning. Second, I have things to say. Thank you for sharing with me; I feel honored to be allowed to know you better. Third, I’m processing. Will be in touch.
Within a week I shared the book with another friend; a friend with whom I have had a number of rather transparent conversations on various topics. After so many years of silence and after so much protection and wall building surrounding my PS, why am I now finding the courage to open up to people?
You may be reading, completely terrified of the idea of telling a friend about the ins and outs of Poland’s Syndrome. I have been in that terrified place, but I’m not there anymore.
So how does one get from point A to point B on this?
I think in part it is simply the maturity that can only come with age, experience, and living life. I’ve lived long enough in my own little world, intentionally shielding myself from truly letting people know me. But I think it is also the people I have found myself surrounded by. Given a different set of circumstance and a different set of friends, I may not be willing to share. It may not have felt safe to share. There may not have been the anticipation of a gracious reply, an understanding and patient reply.
Truth be told, if I had any doubt about how these two friends would respond to me I would not have shared the book. They have proved themselves over time in other circumstances. There was no doubt about their care for me or about their character.
I cannot take any credit for having “found” such friends. Providence brought my children and I to our current geographic location and to our current local church where these ladies just happened to attend. I have been blessed beyond measure with the folks that I have met over the last 18 months. And that made the leap of faith a bit easier to take.
But it would have been just as easy to remain silent. Easier to remain silent. Easier to not share this aspect of my life. Not open up and choose transparency and vulnerability.
At 34 years old I was tired of maintaining the facade of indestructibility. I don’t allow PS to limit me, however the reality is that it creates challenges. It is a relief to know that at least two friends are aware of some of those challenges. A relief to know that if I’m in a circumstance where I am facing an extra challenge due to PS, I can make a comment about it to one of these two ladies and they will understand exactly what I am saying and why I am saying it.
Running that mud race, I was able to say, “There is no way I’m making this obstacle,” and it was left at that. She didn’t try to coax me on in the same way she sought to encourage some of our other teammates because she knew why I was declaring defeat on that particular obstacle. I didn’t have to explain nor justify. My statement was accepted and I was FREE to move on.
I never realized that FREEDOM would come from this disclosure, but freedom has indeed been the outcome. And it is a grand relief!