Maybe no one ever thought to tell you but, yea, you’re kind of deep.


Back in November, my phone number was listed on this blog for one solid millisecond.

Yes, that’s right, my seven digits wafted around the internet like a butterfly just unearthing the power of its own wings and, unfortunately, those digits fell into all the wrong nets.

Now wait, wait. Before y’all start clutching your pretty little heads and elongating your words in panicked fashion to be like Hannnnahhhhhhhhh, whatttttt isssss wrrrongggggggg withhhhhh youuuuuuuu? I’ll stand by the facts that I’ve got stories to share, I’ve got lessons learned, and I’ve got explanations, so each of you can thank me later for stepping up to bring this Stranger Danger tale to life. 


First, the explanation. A favorite author of mine, Bob Goff, made a really bold move when he published all copies of his book “Love Does” with his phone number printed in the back of it. Beside his number, he made it clear that he welcomed phone calls at all hours to talk over the text, ask questions, and really get down to the bone and grit of some God issues. I thought to myself, Wow. Now that would be a way to really connect with people, and proceeded to see myself sipping sweet tea on some random back deck overlooking a chunk of the ocean I’ve never owned while listening to strangers tell me their random stories and their losses of faith and their triumphs.

Now the lesson learned in all of this is that it is probably, certainly, definitely different for a burly, 50-year-old man to give his phone number to the world than for a 24-year-old young woman to post her phone number on the internet.

Regardless, I did post it. And was forced to take it down nearly a day later after getting dozens of phone calls from strange men who made me feel a bit like I was standing in the middle of an unplanned rose ceremony.  And I am still getting phone calls from boys that saved the number in their phone so they could call me up while on their way to Wal-Mart to get Tylenol and leave me voice mails about wanting to hold me like a piece of fine stationery. Needless to say, my attempts to get deeper with people were an epic fail. And now I’m forced to interact by way of email because some people translate me “giving them my number” into “I can book a bus ticket tonight. I only live in Reno.”

 All this to say that I am still figuring out how to bob and weave in a world that is surface level when all I’ve ever wanted to do was get real with people.


I pinned the tail on the donkey and cracked open the pinata the other day with a realization about myself: I’m no small talker.

I’m not the gal who cares about the weather. I’m not the one to lead the crowd in movie quote recitations. I haven’t seen nearly enough movies to make me that girl but if you feel like reciting the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of the Child then maybe, just maybe, I’ll somehow be the life of your party (that’s a proclamation that gets me a little rowdy).

I’m that awkward soul that stands beside you at a party and hates the preliminary banter because I don’t think I actually need 1,000 words to just grab your wrist and say, “Girl, what is really up?” I’ve been known to make people cry on the first interaction, not because I’m grinchy but because I basically skipped sewing my heart onto my sleeve and stapled it to my face instead. You cannot meet me or ever plan to “know” me without staring my heart in the face.  I have to keep it that way. 

But I grew up believing there was something really wrong with me for this. While all my peers wanted to talk about the latest boy bands and fashion trends, I had this burning inside of me to talk about bigger things. Greater things. Harder things. As all my peers slugged down vodka and played flip cup, I always felt like I was the girl standing in concrete shoes who just wanted to address poverty. A loss of God.  A culture of disconnect. Among a sea of drunken college students, I tried my best to fit in without ever realizing that standing apart would be the thing to set me free. 


I could rage cage about the fact that our culture gravitates towards shallowness, seeking to make us mindless followers of a strange, tan folk who made a lifestyle and a couple mill out of fist pumping and the precarious schedule of gym, tan, and laundry. I could preach that, and complain about that, or I could simply say this: We’re all a lot deeper than we give ourselves credit for. And we live within a world that never lets us fully know that. It’s a culture that keeps our intensity, and the fire in our eyes, and the lost hope in our bones at bay because shallow sells and the harder questions make us wince. But you, you, will always be hungry to go deeper than this world has ever let you believe you could. 

Going deeper isn’t easy. It’s not pretty. But it is so, so, so, so, so, so, (so, so, so) life giving. To walk away from a conversation having hashed out broken relationships and strength-filled moments of yesterday is to know & finally feel what God has created for our deep spirits all along.  


This world is much, much shallower than your sweet identity.

And maybe you already cry over that at night. And maybe no one ever thought to tell you but, yea, you’re kind of deep. Deeper, deeper than you even allow yourself to see. But the scary truth in all of it is that we have to be the ones to wade out into deeper water. Nothing in this world– not the magazines, not the networks, not the hyperlinks– will get us there. We have to be the ones to push aside the small talk and just resolve to be present, and connected, and intentional with one another, not because it makes us better human beings but because we were created with an emptiness in our souls that only gets filled by the things that are bigger than us. And you’ve got to be willing to look weird for that. And strange for that. And not of this world because of that.

If you choose to walk forward, leave some of the smallness behind, plenty of others will stay to pick up your load but you’ve got be the intentional one in all of this. The one who sets the space for something more. Or else, you’ll stay a clam shell. You’ll stay surface level. And no one will ever fault you for that but you’ll probably start to feel those concrete shoes getting buckled to your feet when you look at your hands and ask, wasn’t I supposed to do something more with these? 

14 thoughts on “Maybe no one ever thought to tell you but, yea, you’re kind of deep.

  1. As a current college student, this resonated so, so hard. Thanks for reminding me of what my hands are really meant to hold.

  2. This was one of the best blog post I have ever read. Seriously. I was deep at 12 and 13 having ninja mind numbing conversations with adults only to be a geek and looser to my peers. Then my peers grew up and still couldn’t have conversations that were deeper than a plastic blue wading pool. I’m 43 now and am done with shallowness. If I can’t have a real conversation than I’ll hang out at home and enjoy a good book. I’m at a point where my time is more valuable than a shallow conversation. Thank you for the wonderful reminder.

  3. I love your posts. Your writing is a joy to read and I’ve given your website to ohers to checkout . I feel like much of what u say resonates though also how u say it through metaphor and stories is what pulls me in. I have always felt deeper than my peers though defensively i cop out and use humor to cover when i assume the disconnect. its hard being this way but empathy is my profession and passion. Disconnect is my other self bored by banter but afraid of rejection. i wish i could stay true to myself. how do you do it?

  4. I too also always jump in the deep end with people and wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s only after 40 + years of living that I am embracing this and excepting this in myself. Your words here have helped me to keeping knowing how right it is for me to not cringe about it all but continue to stand tall and proud.

  5. This post is beautiful and you are so sweet… I’m working to dig deeper in my writing and break that shell and let others see the real me in my writing– that’s so hard at first – but ill come back and keep rereading this….thank you!

  6. Your writing is beautiful, and I loved everything you had to say. This one really got me, though: “…wasn’t I supposed to do something more with these?” Yeah. I’m working on that one…

  7. Your courage feels to me like a net that you cast upon this stormy sea filled with reluctant swimmers. You save me with every phrase you pen and I am forever grateful to Tera Warner for “introducing” us.I have gone deeper throughout my life only to feel –as you put it —filling concrete shoes The work you do is amazing and each moment that I am able to show up courageously and intentionally ME…. I think “thank you Hannah”and mll. Namaste

  8. Gosh, I always want to go deeper, but it usually makes people uncomfortable. I usually don’t like the get to know you questions, you know “What do you do” kind of things because my mind is thinking about solving bigger issues, like getting to the root of poverty or something like that. That’s a real party starter let me tell you. Anyways thanks for this, you’ve given me much to think about.


  9. I feel like you just described me… I have never been good at small talk. It always makes me uncomfortable. I always find that I end up talking about something really serious without meaning to… It just kind of pours out me. But I really like it that way. We don’t have time to complain about the weather when people are suffering and dying. When injustice abounds. When people have lost their voice and just need someone to stand up for them. I want to be that person.

    Thank you for this…

  10. M’ dear Lady Hannah !!!

    We don’t know one anther (or maybe we DO – he he he – from a former life) …anyhoo, I recently signed up to receive your Fab news letters :o) I am SO moved by this piece (below), and many others – AND by you & your talents and your beautiful generosity and voice. Thanks for writing – keep it UP, pretty please with a cherry on TOP. You are BEYOND TALENTED !!! yay :o) Happy Sunday.

    Warmly, Ms. Rai “rhymes with Sky” Alexandra PS: I applied for the BREW SESSIONS – fingers crossed !!!

    Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2013 14:03:52 +0000 To:

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