I finally, finalllllllly got my hands on Jamie Tworkowski’s If You Feel Too Much last week, and “excited” doesn’t even begin to describe it. As if a foreword by Donald Miller isn’t already the sign of a great book, he used my absolute favorite part of his latest Scary Close – “I think we were supposed to be ourselves and we were meant as a miracle”. Page xx and I already knew this book was going to be amazing. I may or may not have read the entire thing in 24 hours (as in absolutely I did). I think you should as well. Read it, that is. You can take longer if you so desire…
I still remember stumbling across To Write Love On Her Arm‘s MySpace page, back in middle school; I remember getting goosebumps as I read Jamie’s original piece, about Renee’s sentiment to remember the stars. It’s a movement you can’t help but join, an organization you can’t help but root for. It’s a message of hope, above all. A message we all need, a message I’m glad is being spread throughout the world every day because of brave souls like Jamie.
Even if you’ve never heard of TWLOHA, even if you couldn’t care less who this Jamie guy is – pick up a copy of this book. Borrow it, if you must, but I think you’ll want your own. It’s not the tale of an extraordinarily gifted super-human, it doesn’t have the makings of a revolution inside. It’s a simple, honest tale of a life lived with the desire of connecting with others – and falling short of that. Failing at community, yet craving it. Needing people, and yet not knowing what to do with them. Messing up, trying again, and enjoying life along the way. One man’s story of the human experience – putting words to where we’ve all been.
Don’t let the title scare you away, because it almost did me. I’m not known for being too emotional; I’m typically the last in the group to start crying (…if I even start). If I feel too much?? Ha, good one. But I’m learning we typically associate feeling with crying, with emotional highs, with people who wear it all on their sleeves. I’m not that person, but I do feel too much. I think we all do.
Jamie talks about love and community and friendships, he also talks about darkness and addictions and the unknown. But more than anything, he talks about hope. I think hope is the thing we all feel too much of. Or at least I do. Hope for the future, hope for tomorrow, hope for what today might hold. Hope for love and community, hope that the darkness will eventually fade and the unknowns will come to light. Hope lost, hope dashed… and then, later one, hope found. Hope.
This past weekend I had a wedding and a funeral to attend. All the feels, as the internet likes to say. I teared up more times than I can remember – either the result of an emotionally exhausting weekend or I’m finally growing a heart. During the hardest and best moments alike, I kept thinking back to some of Jamie’s words, parts of his story. Relationships. Community. Hope.
Hope is real. TWLOHA helps point people towards a hope that they’ve long since lost sight of, hope of recovery and new life and of a tomorrow worth fighting to be a part of. If You Feel Too Much can point you towards a hope you may have forgotten about – a hope of community to be found, a conversation to be had, a book to be written. Hope of a dream you may have let go, hope of a life you wanted to life. A hope that is real. Because hope is real.