When I listen to people talking about their challenging experiences (especially friends who are battling addictions) their voices often seem to convey guilt or shame. They seem to say – sometime with and sometimes without words – that they feel defeated, overwhelmed, or weak. In a word, I guess I hear regret.
Recently, as I listened to a person talking about their past missteps and stumbles, I was quite overcome by the glaring disconnect. The speaker was candidly retelling the tales of his numerous attempts at quitting and the relapses that had ended the periods of recovery he achieved. The lyrics of his story were accompanied by the unmistakable chords of despair and regret.
But there he sat, voluntarily fighting to regain his freedom AGAIN. He wasn’t drafted into this war. He enlisted. What courage! Even while his voice and affect conveyed feelings of guilt and regret, all I could see was his courage! I observe scenarios like this almost daily, but the other day it moved me in a deeper way to recognize the courage that these brave souls too often cannot see. I can hear a song that they may not easily hear. I can hear a chorus of hope rising from the clamor of their despair and regret.
So may I say again that it is my privilege to serve such brave and hopeful people, and I will loudly sing of hope not just too you, but because of you! While you may not feel courageous and when the war has left you weary, your actions, your efforts, your struggle and persistence quietly attest to your bravery. Thank you for your courage, even when you feel defeated. Your courage sends ripples of hope to all around you. You inspire me and others to believe that anything is possible.