Did you watch the video I posted yesterday? The one that Jonah so powerfully shared with the world? If you didn’t, here it is again. Please watch it. If you did, please watch it again. I believe today’s discussion will mean more to you if it’s fresh in your mind.
I won’t lie. This is going to be a really hard response to get through. I’m still emotional about what I saw (and have now watched multiple times).
Okay, deep breath here.
I think you’d agree that the greatest power in that video was found in the very real tears Jonah was shedding as he confronted his biggest demons and then displayed his process for the world to scrutinize.
Man, that hit close to home.
Last year I published Memoirs of a Bullied Kid. It was the scariest thing I had ever done. I was 30 years old at the time and I remember sitting there in front of my computer, confronting my own similar demons, crying very similar tears as I typed it out. In the end, I don’t think I came anywhere close to the power of Jonah’s message.
And what a beautiful message it is.
I’ve had recurring kidney stone problems over the years. I remember one time I had a doozy of a stone starting its merciless trek through my pee pipes. Within minutes I was limping my way into the emergency room. The front desk nurse took one look at my face and stated matter of factly, “kidney stone, huh.” I just nodded as I tried not to pass out. She smiled and said, “let’s get some medicine into you, quick.”
She didn’t have to ask me what my symptoms were. She didn’t have to look at where I was clasping my own body in writhing pain. She didn’t have to do anything at all except look into my eyes and see “that look.” She knew it very well. She’d obviously seen it many times before.
That’s how I felt as I watched this video. I didn’t have to do anything at all except look into Jonah’s eyes and see “that look.” I know it very well. I’ve seen it many times before. In the mirror. In the eyes of others.
It is the look of the bullied. It is the look of the hurt. It is the look of the person who tries to be happy, pretends to be happy, and is too damaged to actually be happy.
And those tears… those tears… those tears…
Oh Jonah, I love you my good man.
Those are tears of freedom. I know those tears. I’ve cried those tears. They are tears that are only experienced by those who are finally able to confront their oppressors. They are tears only shed by those who are finally tasting the sweet power of using their voice. They are tears that are only truly felt by those who have shed similar tears or by those who still desperately need to shed similar tears.
His tussled hair. His headphones.
It all says so much about this incredible boy and the very real pain he is experiencing in this moment, doesn’t it?
And his final message at the end…
I know that Jonah was writing those words because he wanted to believe them, not because he did believe them. I know because you don’t cry tears like that, and you don’t share messages like that unless you’re acting on last-effort faith that things will get better for you and for others if you do.
And, if it’s anything like what I experienced, I’ll bet he believes it all a lot more now than he ever did when he first scribbled those letters onto a notecard.
Jonah had real courage in doing what he did.
So, yeah… today I want to share a perspective with you that very few people on this earth will be able to share.
After I posted a link to the video yesterday, there were several comments that came in pointing me to this short video, saying that Jonah had lied. “It was all a ruse,” one person said.
I couldn’t help but click on the link.
Continued on next page.