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Walk With Me

by | Apr 15, 2022 | ACA And The Arts, ComLine

Before and during my recovery, many would try to “fix” me, to “help” me, to straighten me out. Some came from a place of dominance; others were well-intentioned. But they didn’t connect with my heart; they didn’t hear my internal ache.

Many wanted me to wear a plastic smile, to act as if everything was fine. But everything wasn’t fine. I had survived nearly two decades of domestic violence, then more years of religious abuse. My self-esteem and confidence were non-existent. I didn’t know who I was; I tried to please others for my value. I listened to much of their advice, but it didn’t bring me the help I wanted or needed.

Religious experts would quote scripture and theology at me; they would then condemn me when I didn’t rise up to their expectations. They only added to the list of things I would later need to heal from.

Today, the people I treasure most are the few who have heard me, who have listened to my shattered heart, who have walked with me. I offer this poem to the experts in my life. This includes the 12-step experts.

(Confession: I’ve previously been in the “expert” place myself. This is part of my overall healing journey – which includes missteps.)  


Dear expert.
You know the way. 
You have the answers.
You give advice.

You call yourself 
a teacher, 
a guide, 
a coach.

But where are you 
when I travel alone?
I walk over rough terrain – 
all alone.

You are ahead of me, 
or so you claim.
But I don’t know your story.
I don’t know your struggles.

You put yourself on a pedestal.
You say that it’s easy.
You say, “All you have to do is ….”
But I know better.

You know how I should live my life.
Do you know how to extend your hand?
Will you walk with me?
Or will you fly ten miles overhead?

I go hiking with my wife 
along mountain goat paths.
The trail is easy for me, 
but not for her.

I don’t tell her that it’s easy.
Instead, I offer her my hand.
I help her with her balance.
I walk with her.

Sure, sometimes I get ahead.
But she calls me back.
And I listen.
Again, I walk with her.

Yes, dear expert:
I know that my journey is mine, 
and mine alone.
Still, it gets lonely.

Oh, how far I have traveled alone 
through abuses and betrayals.
My heart yearns for a companion, 
someone who will walk with me.

I don’t need a superstar.
I don’t need a self-appointed expert.
I need a human touch.
I need a listening ear.

I need a human heart.
I need to know that someone cares.
Who will walk with me?
Who will extend their heart?

Walk with me 
and I will walk with you.
Extend your heart toward me 
and I will share my heart with you.

– Healing Heart Warrior (Tom M.)

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