Exquisitely Tender- Stepping Into My Pain

November 10, 2021

I think about you a lot. You see, you were a compassionate soul that got caught in the middle of my exquisitely tender heart. You were a bystander that became engulfed in the reactions of my pain, a pain that I was trying so desperately to hide from the world. You had no idea the rocky road that I was trying to walk on, or the mountain that I was trying to climb. I made the choice to fiercely downplay my journey and my experience and because of that you ended up enduring the consequence of my pain.

You probably don’t think about that moment at all. You may not even remember it, but for me, it’s a moment that’s ingrained into my memory bank. One that is so full of shame and hurt and embarrassment. You had a heart that recognized my sorrow and a soul that was trying desperately to help comfort it. Instead of appreciating those things, I felt outed and like suddenly my brokenness had been broadcast to the world.

I hate that I responded with spite and bitterness. I hate that my words probably held sting and meanness answering your easy questions. I hate that I let my heartbreak overpower my kind and gracious heart. At the core of who I am you will not find those unkind things. You will find a soul who feels things deeper than most. A heart that is exquisitely tender. A heart that was battling destruction I couldn’t bear to let others in on. 

I was dealing with a complete deconstruction of life as I knew it and I was trying desperately to look normal and free of the catastrophic weight that I carried each day. Here’s the thing about immense pain and significant loss, if you don’t acknowledge it or honor it eventually you end up passing it along to the people that show up beside you, the beautiful souls who are simply trying to help. The souls trying to acknowledge the pain that you refuse to admit. I’m so sorry you had to be the one to witness my eruption, the first one to witness my unveiling. 

You should know that because of this moment of weakness I am now extremely intentional about acknowledging my pain and keeping it tucked away responsibly. I now try to walk with larger grace and a bigger capacity to hold both pain and kindness, both heartbreak and gratitude. I now realize the invisible burdens that each one of us carries and the sensitivities of someone acknowledging those burdens. I now appreciate the unique ways others show up, not to broadcast our brokenness or to out our chaos, but to help hold it and surround it with love. 

Thank you for having a heart that sees the unspeakable messiness of others. Thank you for having a soul that recognizes the invisible ache others face and then possessing the courage to step into it. I will never forget you and I will never forget that moment. It taught me a priceless lesson. It taught me how to walk with grief and climb pain’s monumental mountain while still holding kindness and grace. 

Thank you for stepping into my pain and into my mess. I’ve never forgotten it. 

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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