Being in a relationship, post-divorce, in my 40s, as a woman who barely dated at all as a teenager, is brand new, sometimes scary territory for me.

Most of the terrain is delightful and life-giving and an absolute gift that I am grateful for every day.

But then there are some small bumps in the road – outside-of-the-two-of-us obstacles – that have hurt my heart.  Things I’ve cried over.  Things I hadn’t expected.  Things I wish were different.  Things I have no idea how to navigate because it’s never been my experience til now.

A recent morning was one of those times. I woke up with a heavy heart over something that I’m not going to name and I didn’t have a place for it in my head or answers on how to move forward.

But then I remembered something I had read a few years back.  It was a story of a woman who was recalling a challenging season in her life, a season that matches the season I find myself in.  And I looked for the book and I found it. And then I sat on my couch, fire lit, candle lit, tea by my side, heart hopeful and needing…something.

And I reread the story that I remembered from so many years ago.  And I was right: she had been through what I’m going through.

And her story reminded me that it’s going to be okay, even if it’s not.

That things take time.

That relationships are tricky.

That nothing is perfect.

That you can’t make someone like you.

That some things aren’t about you at all.

That you can only do so much.

That being kind and available and even leaving space is sometimes the next right thing to do.

And I cried.  Because her story took seven years to enfold to its better place.  And I realized that mine might take that long too.  Or, it might never turn out the way I hope.  And if that’s the case, it won’t be the end of the world.

And the bigger lesson in all of this is that I remembered someone else’s story that she bravely told. And it helped me. Not with tips. But with resonance.  With realizing this may be a trail I haven’t blazed before but it has been blazed by others.  That I’m not alone. That this thing is a hard thing, no doubt, but it’s not the worst thing.

And so, today, I want to encourage you: if you have a story to tell, please tell it.  We need it.  No one but you can tell it. And you have no idea who, somewhere down the road, you may comfort or support or end up coming alongside.  So be brave and tell your story.