I sat up in bed, my hair frizzy, my back hurting.  I leaned forward to stretch and listened for the sound of my little boys.  Just to remember that they are with their dad for fall break.  I reached over and grabbed my phone.  A text message from a friend, I smiled excited to find out what she was messaging about.  I clicked on the button and the smile quickly turned into confusion.  Tears filled my eyes….  A dear friend…dead.  What?  My brain became a little foggy and almost immediately it went into denial.  My first thought, this is a sick joke, my second thought, this could not be happening.  I quickly went to the news, to the internet for some confirmation that she was not dead.  I looked and could not find anything, then scrolled to Facebook.  Nothing!

The tears came back into my eyes as my heart broke, but I loved her.  I loved her!

I texted my husband who was downstairs in his office, My body shook as big tears fell down my face.  I was frozen in the bed weeping.  I heard his footsteps pound up the stairs as he took them two by two.  He walked in and came to my side to hug me and offer comfort.  I just cried and melted into his warm embrace.  “No, But I loved her.”

This past week I received shocking news that a dear friend of mine had ended her life.  My heart was broken for her, for her family, for her children.  I wanted to ask why, but deep down I could understand that dark place that leads us to feel we have nothing to offer.  That dark place that makes us feel like the world would be better off without us, that we are too broken to ever be whole again.  I know that place because I visited there once.  It is a place where Satan lies with a smile on his face knowing that he has you.  His demons surround and taunt.  Escaping when your heart is broken and you feel worthless is hard.

My mind quickly flooded back to her smile, to her hugs, to her soft kind voice, to her face.  I cried! My heart was broken.  I knew that she had been hurting, I wish I would have known how deep, I wish I could have done more to help.

My heart has been heavy, I have relived conversations where I learned of the abuse she had faced in her first marriage.  When I learned of her heartache and loss about not being able to see her children more.  (Divorce does that….you miss out on a portion of your children’s lives and you can’t do anything about it.)  I looked at Facebook messenger and text messages when I reached out to her to see if she was doing okay.  I looked for confirmation that I had tried, that I had done my part.  Fully knowing that I am not accountable for her choices and still hoping that I had tried.  That my efforts to love her were enough.

I can’t pretend to know why she did what she did, but I do know she was heartbroken.  I do know that abuse can do horrible things to women and change them into people that they are not.

This morning I watched the Disney movie Moana, and I realized that I have been the scary volcano woman.  I know what it feels like to have my heart ripped from my chest, and to be so full of anger, and so afraid of the outside world that you will do almost anything to protect yourself from vulnerability and from the unknown.  I also know what is is like to be the opposite and to feel so broken that not only does your abuser call you crazy, but you start to think that maybe they are right.  I have played both roles.

I thought about all of the women that I have met over the past few years who play these roles, not because it is who the are, but because they have been hurt so badly and abused so badly that the true them is hidden in either a body who stays silent and isolates, or into a roaring volcano who refuses to let anyone in.

At the very end of Moana she puts down all of her defenses and she says “let her come to me.”

She says,

“I know your name, they have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you.”

“This is not who you are, you know who you are.  Who you truly are.” –Moana

And as I watched this beautiful part of the movie the symbolism struck deep within my heart.

Look at the women around you?  How many have been hurt so badly that they come off as mean, abrasive and unapproachable?  On the other side, how many women have you seen with eyes cast down who look broken, and curled up in a ball?

At this moment I can think of women I know who are is so much pain that they take on one of these roles.

Today I make a commitment to look a little longer at the women and men from my past, my present, and my future and to see them.  I want to put down my fear and my defensiveness, and I want to cross the horizon to find you my brothers and sisters and to love you.  Because you are worth it.  I want to really see you and to do everything in my power to help you remember who you are.  Abuse does not get to define ANY OF US.  If you have abused it does not get to define you either.

If you are lost and you don’t know who you are anymore.  I am here and I want to help.  You are not alone.

Sending More love then you can imagine today, as i mourn the loss of someone that I truly loved.

I have added the Disney clip below if you want to watch it.