Life can be an incredible challenge just to live day by day. Sometimes all that seems to come our way are dreary clouds and perpetual rain. We look towards the sky with fear, anger, self-pity, and cry out,
“When is something good going to happen to me God…when am I going to experience all the good things that everyone else I know just takes for granted?”
Sound familiar? I have been there and done that too many times to remember. Somehow my faith and my trust in God had become distorted and I was starting to evaluate my personal life on the basis of what others possessed and what I was lacking. Trouble seemed to follow me like flies to sticky paper and I was simply running out of gas. I had no more endurance to keep on keepin’ on and I seemed to be spiralling down into a deep black abyss. My faith in the goodness of God had succumbed to ever increasing fear and deep-felt insecurity. There were days when I didn’t even have the energy to get out of bed, after all, there be Monsters out there.
Of course, anyone with even a remote understanding of human nature would realize that I was slipping into a major depression. There was a big black bottomless pit and I was in a free fall, crying out with words that fell upon deaf ears.
I do not have the time or inclination to explain how I eventually climbed out of the aforementioned pit of mire and despair. I can tell you this, though, that part of my recovery can be summarized in two statements:
- Face your fears
- Be known for who you are
The first, face your fears, is incredibly difficult for anyone to tackle. Much of what we do and say is often motivated by fear. Most people simply live their lives out in denial of their fears. It is just too difficult to confront all the pain and disappointment we have experienced over a lifetime. So we carry on in our existence, negating our fear(s) through alcohol, drugs, and sex. We try to stuff the huge hole in our hearts with wealth and material possessions, invariably seeking power and control over others.
The second, be known for who you are, is even more burdensome, at least initially. Recently, I asked my daughter for her evaluation and/or input on an article I posted on EclecticChoices. My daughter is a beautiful, bright, and talented PhD. student studying English at a university on the east coast. She has well-developed natural talent and skill in writing, including published essays, short stories, and poetry. I felt for certain that if she had the spare time to read a post, she could offer some very real and helpful advice as to the content, grammar, etc. of the article in question. She simply said something to this effect, “the article is OK, but Dad, you sound like a Saint“.
Well, that comment hit me pretty hard. I felt as if someone had just punched me in the stomach. I was feeling exposed and embarrassed – had I communicated in a way that belied or concealed my true self? Had I presented my ideals to others rather than being known for who I really am? After all, I am far from a saint – to me saints are those renowned people in the Old Testament or perhaps other historical persons like Joan of Arc, or Mother Theresa.
Alas, this is where the crunch is, to be known for who you are, is to be real with others, judiciously revealing our inner person, including all our metaphorical warts and wrinkles, to those we deem trustworthy to love us unconditionally – an imperfect love from imperfect people. This is where a lot of human beings get it wrong. They want to let other people into the depths of their personhood, to be genuine inside and out, yet they fail to be discriminate in who they present all the gory details of their lives to on Facebook, on blogs, on television, and so forth. Being known for who you are does NOT mean hanging all your dirty laundry out for the general public to view. To be genuine is to recognize that we are all on a journey towards physical, emotional, and spiritual maturity. Part of that path towards change necessitates that we acknowledge our faults with those who have demonstrated trustworthiness. This is just plain old common sense, we have nothing to fear amongst those of like heart and mind.
The truth is, if I were to reveal even the memories of my life experience on planet terra firma, it would read more like an Alfred Hitchcock horror novel rather than a modern, and often contrived, story of some great saint. My heart is reserved for those I trust and for those that have opened up their heart to me. Need I say more?
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