a great cloud of withness

Did you have a basement as a kid? If so, are the we same type of weird where (if the light switch was at the bottom of the stairs) as soon as your turned the lights off you broke the land speed record getting to the top so you could stay away from all the monsters that crept out when the lights were off? There are even times now, as a grown woman, that I have to force myself to slow down and walk gingerly up the steps of my parents house, reminding myself that the monsters in the basement aren’t interested in me and will leave me alone.

My miniBFF recently asked me to come to the basement with him because he needed to grab a couple things for nap time. On the way down he mentioned that he was scared of going to the basement by himself. After a, “No problem, I’ll go with you!” he asked, “Are you scared of anything?”

“I’m scared of a lot of things bud.”
“Like what?”
“Sometimes I’m scared of the dark, basements by myself, and being up really high. There are alot of things that scare me.”
“How do you not be scared?”
“Well, I ask Jesus to help me be brave, and my friends help me remember that I can be brave because they are there to help me too! When I’m scared, I just ask for someone to come with me, and then we can both be brave together!”
“Like we’re doing right now!”

Exactly.

(side note: it’s always the kids. pay attention to them. the kingdom belongs to these.)

I haven’t been able to let this interaction go. It holds the truest thing about my story over the last couple of years. It speaks to the great cloud of withness about me.

Withness is a term I swiped from Ann Voskamp. I don’t fully know the context she uses it in because I just get it from her Instagram stories, but ultimately she speaks to the witness and withness of Christ and His people.

We bear witness to the Gospel as we bear with one another.

As I embark on new adventures or travel back into wounded spaces, I can do so with great bravery because I know that I have the withness of those that love me in the journey. I bring those with me that remind me of who I am, and who Christ is, in the midst of the hard, beautiful, scary, dark, exciting, unknown places.

Sometimes that looks like a first date.
Sometimes that looks like a hard conversation with a friend.
Sometimes that looks like a celebration of a loved one for a thing that I’m longing for.
And sometimes, that looks like walking down the steps into a basement with a little one that just needs me to be with him to help him be brave.

I can be brave with and for him because someone has been brave with and for me.

So many of us are unwilling to go with someone because of what it might cost us. It could cost us time, energy, or even money. It could cost us vulnerability and having to actually be known by someone – risking both rejection and love. But if there’s one thing I know in the depth of my bones, it’s that the reward of going with has always (and I do mean always) outweighed the risk.

If you’re scared, bring people along.
Ask them to be with you.
Be with those that ask.

Getting through this life, IMHO, will be abundantly rich if we take with us a great cloud of withness.

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