The Privilege of Being Invited In
I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
What a privilege it is to be let in to someone else’s life, to be told their story. We all have a story to share. But all of us, in one way or another, are afraid to tell it. We hold parts of it back—difficult chapters, painful seasons, embarrassing thoughts or moments. We hold back because we are afraid that we will be judged. We try to hide our vulnerabilities because we are afraid that they will be used against us; and unfortunately, often they are.
But we know that holding it in or hiding so much of ourselves is neither healthy nor good. And … we also know that on the opposite end of the spectrum, sharing ourselves, sharing our stories, sharing our vulnerabilities, or sharing our experiences, can be freeing, illuminating, and emboldening.
The actor Michael J Fox held onto the secret that he had Parkinson ’s disease for many years before he shared it publically. He feared how public knowledge of the disease would affect his professional life and standing, and change his personal life. But at some point he decided that it was time to stop hiding the inevitable, to let the rest of the world in. And in the end that secret revealed has freed him, enhanced his career and has led him to lead a multi-million dollar foundation dedicated to treating and finding a cure for Parkinson’s. His secret, his story, has become an inspiration – and a very real hope – to many. He started with his trusted personal connections. And look where it has brought him today.
There is someone who both of us know very well who had been holding on to a secret far too long that needed to be shared. He was feeling an extreme amount of shame and guilt for something that had happened and that shame and guilt were wearing him down. He didn’t know whom to trust or where to turn to talk about the situation. But when he took the risk and found a friend who he thought might listen, and he opened up about his shame and guilt, that friend simply listened and didn’t judge; he offered grace and support. It was exactly what he needed. And now he can live with his past and his experiences and he is able to be more open with many more people about what he has been through. In the connection that he had with the friend he could trust, he derived sustenance and strength, which enabled him to have grace for himself and lead a healthier and more open life. Who knows how he can now grow and affect the world in an even better way because his life is lived in greater freedom and confidence now?
We all need those connections in our lives.
It is our mission to model that and to help other people to find those connections in their own lives. We model it in our relationship personally with each other and we hope to help others find it in theirs too. In the work that we do together, we are often those persons with whom someone shares something very personal or previously unshared with anyone else—a painful experience, an addiction, an affair, a profound fear of dying, a huge mistake, an embarrassing thought, a scary diagnosis, a debilitating challenge. What an incredible privilege it is to be held in sacred trust with the intimate knowledge of someone else’s life. We can often see and feel the weight and the dark clouds being lifted from peoples’ hearts, spirits, and minds when they are finally given permission to share their stories without judgment or condemnation. And we would assume that at some point in all of our lives, all of us have played that role for someone else too.
We want you to know that if you don’t know where to start you can come to us and we can be that first connection and we can help you to find many more. When we can help someone see how much more freeing life can be when a story doesn’t have to be hidden anymore, it fills us with much joy and thanksgiving.