"Thank you for the amazing yoga class," I managed to piece together while holding back tears. "I'm on the heels of a bad breakup and coming to your class has helped me so much."
These are the words I fumbled over as I stood in front of my yoga instructor, still sweating from the class. I was awkward as the rest of the students filed out around me, but she was blessedly gracious as she gave me a hug and thanked me for telling her.
In the weeks after my breakup, I found myself spending a lot of time at Balance Yoga. The classes helped me feel calm in my emotionally chaotic state and the consistency of seeing the same people a few times every week made me feel less lonely. In the moment, it felt important to express how much her classes meant to me.
I recognize now what I couldn't see then: I wanted someone to care for me. I wanted her to know my story and be gentle with me in my fragile condition. I wanted to be seen and known.
Although I felt very cared for by my friends and family, most of them were not local. I was yearning for physical touch, eye contact and an earnest listening ear. I was aching to feel like I was part of a community in Atlanta - not just a heartbroken, floundering girl driving down Peachtree.
I've read a lot of blog posts about the importance of mothering yourself - of owning your self care and giving yourself the grace and compassion so many of our moms show us. I get that and I love it. But sometimes, in our most vulnerable moments, when our mom is far away, we just want someone to give us a hug and tell us everything will be OK. We just want someone to put their hands on our shoulders, look us in the eyes and say: I care.
I've come to believe, throughout my 20s, that some seasons are for loneliness and some are for abundance. I'd never appreciate the community I have in Atlanta, today, had I not ached and yearned for community for months on end.
If you find yourself aching, today, for someone who cares, I wanted to remind you that you are loved. You are known. You are beautiful. Your loneliness is valid and it's OK to feel it. But you are not alone. Don't let moments of self-doubt tempt you to settle or lead you to believe that you are not loved.
You are stronger than you think and more loved than you can fathom. Carry on and remember the darkest hour is before the dawn.
"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good." Romans 8:26 (Message)