The Art of Mirriam Neal

//more than I could have imagined

I learned something amazing yesterday. I learned that I have the most incredible, understanding, loving, forgiving family and friends. I’ve spent the last few days in tears – but the tears of the last twenty-four hours have been different. I haven’t been crying because of hurt or pain, I’ve been crying because the outpouring of love I’ve received has been so overwhelming my emotions don’t know what to do with it. Before I made the last blog post, I was warned by caring family that – while I should post it, having prayed long and hard about it – I should also expect unpleasant consequences. The loss of friendships, the flinging of accusations. I decided I would rather have a final waltz with the skeleton in my closet than keep it shoved in there collecting dust, and so with fear and the hope I wasn’t destroying friendships, I posted the article.

I’m still astounded, flabbergasted, and in all other ways gobsmacked at the replies I received. Emails, blog comments, Facebook messages, and phone calls came flooding in. Dozens upon dozens of people sent encouragement, shared secrets, and thanked me. It was the thanking that really shocked me. Of all the reactions I expected, being thanked wasn’t even on the list, even for this optimist. Some of the responses included:

“You are seriously someone that /many/ look up to and admire. You’re settling even more fully into that position by letting everyone else know — especially the younger girls — how one can grow and change into someone better even after making mistakes. I am so, so proud of you, and I love you, too.”

“The post you just wrote was sheer honesty and bravery. It had the rare beauty of a heart humbled and forgiven. All that to say… I understand. I’ve been there before…Thank you from the bottom of my heart for those words you wrote.”

“I wanted to take my place behind you, beside you, and, if need be, in front of you.”

“i’ve made some similar mistakes. and this encouraged me, honestly. i don’t mean that it made me feel okay about the wrong things i’ve done, but it made me remember what christian life really is: a series of mistakes that i have to learn & repent from and overcome.”

“Praying for you and giving you a huge hug and thank you for sharing a private place in your journey towards holiness – I needed to read it and that was incredibly….neither brave nor bold is the word I’m looking for, but I heartily commend you and am rejoicing in the work of Christ in all of us.”

“You are the sort of friend who doesn’t pull down, but builds up– and leads the way towards the light of Christ.”

“No surprises here, well handled, well said, and so much light, Mirriam pretty sure I saw Yahweh walking through the flames, right beside you.”

So many people offered their support. So many people asked if I was okay, or needed to talk. So many people suddenly came forward with their own ghosts. I had thought my revelation would weed out my true friends – instead, I discovered I have more true friends than I could possibly imagine.

Out of every single person who spoke with me, do you know how many people sent me hate, or dislike? How many people berated me or accused me of hypocrisy?

Not one.

Even the former friend sent me an email, asking my forgiveness, wanting to leave me forever on a clean note.

I’m writing all of this to say thank you. Thank you – in every language spoken and unspoken. In all the ways I can’t articulate, because if I tried I would probably start crying (and I’m so, so ready to be done with the tears). Thank you for trusting me, and for proving my trust.

Thank you for showing me how heavenly human beings can be.

I’m so truly blessed, in ever genuine sense of the word, to know each one of you – even if it’s just through a blog comment every now and then. You are incredible. I love you all.

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