Seven Billion and Growing.

By Chad Moses

This is the beginning of a celebration. Ten years ago this week, TWLOHA came into existence as a story that invited people to speak and to be heard, to seek help and to help others, and to live this life together. This month we’re looking back on the last decade, sharing some of our favorite blog posts from TWLOHA’s history along the way. 

“Seven Billion and Growing.”

That is what the little green sign on the edge of our “city limits” of Earth would read. But maybe that growing isn’t always felt; somehow, it doesn’t always seem true.

For those of us who are reading this at midnight or 2 AM—maybe 5, 6, 7, 8 AM—after sleepless nights, weeks, and months; for those of us who buried our friends and family last week or last winter or last year: we are well within our rights to question just how much this world is “growing.” Growing should mean progress, but we’ve been here for eternity now, spinning our wheels in this emotional tar which seems too sticky to be helped out of and darker than the space between the stars.

“Seven Billion … and Grabbing.”

Maybe even threatening to take us down. Seven billion more people who are too busy to hear me, too successful to care, too programmed in their answers.

And yet … I believe and hope beyond hope that this world is actually shrinking. I’ve seen it before, in eyes much like yours, when the lights come on and you think, “Someone gets me.” Seven billion doesn’t seem as significant or as threatening over coffee talk with one real person. Two hugs at a merch booth. Three phone numbers committed to memory to dial on nights such as this.

The pain you felt, it was never planned for you. You can stop wondering, because I know the friend you left or the ones who left you did indeed leave too soon. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be; but then again, it’s to be expected. We’ve been left with shoulders shrugged and hands full of baggage tagged “Home,” “Distrust,” maybe even “Return to Sender.” But for all of the heartbreak you and I have felt, we have to breathe and realize—we are surviving.

At best, you can make seven billion connections to other living people who also question everything that’s been planned for them. And whatever seven billion times seven billion equals is also the number of smiles heaven was built to contain, the amount of tear-stained cheeks that will never feel dried salt again.

The map of this city called Earth is littered with detours and routes that ought to be thrown to the side—seven billion potholes will get the best of our patience. Our hearts will never be immune to the chill of vacancy, and with seven billion comings-and-goings, it is expected that a few will leave their mark. But the pain you felt was never planned; it happened, but it was not destined. And now, you can plan what to do with it. You don’t need to approach humanity with fear. Just for a second, imagine: imagine your life with an interested audience; imagine a calm, and loving, and reflective voice, saying, “We will get there together, I swear … I will stay awake with you.”

You are not alone. Not now. Not ever. Do not give up.

Allow me, just one voice among seven billion, to start the song. Join in whenever you feel comfortable. The words are simple.

“I’m here for you. We can make it through.”

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Comments (8)

  1. Heba

    Thank you. I need to hear this. It’s 5 am and this seems like the hour when grief gets to consume me whole; I am currently dealing with the death of my dad. It’s been 3 months now, and I’m trying to be strong for him, and for my mum and sister. I can make it through.

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  2. Duchess Fiona AuHuighan

    Alleluia!!! Thank you all so much! If it hadn’t been for the wonderful people at Creation West in the summer of 2006, the young man God told to, “Talk to my daughter. She keeps hurting herself & no one will listen. She needs to know that there are people who care.”, then I would not be here to say… I am a recovering _____ because my Daddy used this movement to reach out to a very seriously injured “beautiful” young woman. I say, quote beautiful, unquote, because I never felt beautiful. Being a model, dancer & actress, I felt my beauty was a curse, a commodity, not something to be cherish, proud of, or even okay with. Being a model 1s off, I had to find “creative” ways & places to release the pain no one was willing to listen to or pay attention to. Places that hopefully wouldn’t show up in photos or on the runway. I was always told I was being “melodramatic” or “You’re just being angst”. It truly is sick how people treat there own family & friends….like our feelings don’t matter. That’s how I was treated…like I wasn’t allowed to have feelings. Crying was frowned upon in my huge Irish/Catholic family. If you cried, you weren’t strong & something was seriously wrong with you, & you needed to figure it out or leave. “No one has time for your melodramas Fiona!”, “You know, there are people in this world alot worse off than you!”, “Would you get over yourself, you selfish little shyte!”, were things I often heard; among much worse.
    But, finally; in July 2006, Daddy God had a few wonderful people, from a very important movement; talk to this shy & alone feeling, young woman & let her know there are people who care about your pain. There are people who will listen, with right sympathy & also with empathy.
    I praise God for this movement & I always will. I will support this movement any way I can.
    Because God used TWLOHA in my life I can truly say… It is well with my soul.?? ~ Duchess Fiona

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  3. Karissa

    Sometimes you find just the right post at just the right time. I needed to hear these words and feel connected. Thank you.

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  4. Jenny

    The sad feeling is that I know that there is no one who will tell me that. No one is there for me and the only time I can get those words is from this text. And that is what the sad thing is, I dont even know you who wrote this and I will ever probebly know anyone that will tell me something like that. For one second I smiled, becaouse that was beautiful written. And I felt hope when I saw the last line. But then again, there will never bee anyone who tells me that and now my hope is gone again. It didnt take long. sorry, your words was beautiful, and I hope you tell someone that you will help them to get through. becouse we people need help sometime. I just hope that you will be there for someone that feels like me. Hopless. Becouse I will never have that person who tells me that in my life. And you can make a big change for that person. Be there for each other. – The road is not so narrow that two people cant walk next to each other.

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    1. Chad

      Read it again. Then read it again. this was written for YOU. These words were from a common ground. This was written from a place of desire as much as it was from the hope of encouragement. You are not exempt from feeling some sense of connection. Please keep fighting. Check out our Find Help page if you need some ideas on where to start looking for help. There are people who know how you feel and who have dedicated their lives to making sure you feel heard and valued. You are not alone in this

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  5. Nancy

    I wish I had found you 4 years ago, but I am a firm believer in thing happen when they are supposed to. So here I am . I am recovering from despair and all of its partners, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, two bad suicide attempts, some self injury……. I have finally found my hope through faith in God. I don’t have days of absolute darkness anymore, I don’t spend all day thinking of how to end my life. What a a relief it is to have hope. Hope in a much brighter future. What a relief it is to smile and mean it. My story is long and I have no idea where to start, so I am not going to try and write it. I just wanted to thank you for the movie. I was riveted. The movie should be subtitled HOPE. Thank you. I am a survivor. Nancy

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