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I Believe You

Everything

I Believe You

Courtney Bither

by Courtney Bither

I’m torn.

I am torn because the last six months have been really crazy. And I want to write about them. But I don’t know how to do it anymore.

I try to write about the place I find myself in right now, but each time I write a sentence and then delete it.  I am so tired. I cannot defend my feelings anymore. I cannot explain all of the situations in the last 10 years or even four years or even four months or even four weeks that have helped me question my sanity. I feel like all I can do is find and hold the broken pieces of what I wanted to be. I can’t even explain what went wrong anymore. I just know that I’m holding broken things – broken pieces of something that used to be whole – and they are pointy and heavy things and my hands are bleeding.

And I am tired of making my bruises and cuts and scars teaching tools. I know it is good, but I am tired. It’s confusing and complicated. This often feels like the only way I know how to make meaning out of the pain – I want to point to the scar and say, “Look. This is real. Let’s not do this to others.” I want to point to my scars and say, “Hey, me too.”

But I think right now I’m still bleeding. It’s not a scar, it’s a wound. And right now it hurts. And I don’t want to be brave and I don’t want to teach and I don’t want to convince you that I’m in  pain. Unless you want to hug me, please don’t touch me (but please, hug me). I don’t want your fingers poking around in my cuts.

I read a story the other day that feels relevant. This guy claims he has come back from the dead. One of his friends, Thomas, says, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

I think Thomas is often unfairly chastised for doubting. Like, okay, I get it – I would also question a man who claims he came back from the dead. But also, holy shit Thomas, did you really need to put your hands in his wounds?

When your friend is standing in front of you and you can see the wounds on his body, do you really need to touch them to believe they are real?

I don’t know the answer to that question. I would venture that some people do need that. But let’s not forget the place that puts people with wounds. Why do we so often need to be convinced of the suffering of others? How is someone with open wounds going to feel with your hands on their bruises? What kind of burden do we place on bleeding people by asking them to bleed more for us?

Interestingly, Thomas’s friend grants Thomas permission to touch him – Thomas does not get to touch his friend without permission. He does not get to demand proof – the proof is offered graciously. It is a gift.

Thomas’s friend says, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

I hope that we don’t often do what Thomas did – do you really need to touch the holes in my arms before you believe that I have suffered?

Some days I feel like writing about my scars. It’s my way of saying, “It’s okay, you can touch them. I understand.”

But some days it’s too hard. Some days you just need someone to believe you.

 

—–

I believe you.