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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

To Be Known

One of the many reasons I blog is because I am compelled to share my life with others.  I know it is impersonal - and that face-to-face relationships are best, but at times I have a need to simply write. Although I am trained to be extroverted I am naturally more inclined to being a social hermit - my companions would be authors, dead or alive (but mostly dead).  Though this is a romantic notion (having intimate relationships with dead writers - of course, only in my imagination - because it seems they know me and I know them), it isn't enough.  I so badly wish it were enough.  I want to remain reclusive - kept safe from relationships that could actually involve risk and pain.  Though this is my instinctive desire, I don't believe it is healthy.  By keeping relationships away, and only interactive via writing or by reading dead people's stuff, others are missing out on ME (and, Oh, What. A. Loss. ! - tongue firmly in cheek).  But more importantly, community ceases to exist when I sing to myself, "I am a rock, I am an island!  And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries."

So, in a limited sense I share myself, or some of myself in the blogosphere - which is, frankly, a poor substitute - or no substitute at all, for real, fully present, in the moment, 'here's who I really am' conversations and struggles.  It is so safe to just dump my thoughts here and run for cover!  It is an awkward way to communicate - one sided, filtered, biased and yet freeing all at the same time.  Thank you for letting me share my 'stuff' with you!  Whoever you may be...

Where does this come from, this need to write?  This need to express?  To share my life?  It stems from a need to be known.  And this is a need we all have, I believe.  This is why God says to Hagar, when she is despairing of her life and her son's life out in the desert, "I see you."  And she calls Him, "The God Who sees."  This is one of the most comforting verses in the Bible - because it tells me God sees me - He knows me - and in the knowing there is care, love, grace, hope and mercy poured out on my life.

Until recently, I wanted to camp out there - in the idea that God sees me.  And I have, and do, and I love it.  But He doesn't stop there - He has placed me in the communal family of His body.  He wants others to see me - to be His body to me.  He wants me to know others - to grow in intimacy, even if it includes pain.  Even if I discover a callousedness in others that is disheartening.  Even when I am lonely and think no one cares to know me.

I still think it is too much work to know me - that someone the enormity of my self is a burden too great to place on another in the guise of friendship.  I am distrusting, cautious, withdrawn and fearful at times.  I only share this because I want us to think (collectively) about this issue - there must be others like me (I wonder?) who assume they are too much for the community of faith to handle!  I don't want others to think I don't want to know them because they are too complex or burdened!  Do I communicate this to others somehow?  Perhaps.  I hope not.

Back when I was 17 and emotionally raw (okay, that didn't just end when I was 17) I wrote a depressing story in my journal.  I'll share it here as it speaks volumes.  I warn you that it is depressing to prepare you before you read it - I warned you.  But why I share this is because I wonder if others feel the same way?  Am I missing reaching out to people who wander through my community because I haven't taken the time to honestly affirm that they are valid and needed and wanted?  We love adoption stories because they communicate all these things to us - validity, being wanted, chosen, cared for, desired.  I don't want to only think of those things in terms of adoption - I want to adopt those around me as friends, who will be known by me and who will want to also know me - even with all my junk.


The Story of the Real Person

She is such a paradox. Her heart is warm and open, though in pain. Her spirit is healthy and strong, though alone. Her emotions are strong, though lacking. Yet her walls are stone cold, her barriers are miles thick and the real person hides, huddled in a corner, shivering, trying to keep warm on its own. But no matter how strong the heart may be or how warm the lifeblood that flows through her veins, she cannot sustain herself. She needs something, perhaps someone to reach out and touch her, to bring her close in a warm embrace and to say, "Yes, I do want to know you." And once this has happened, the stone cold walls are torn apart, the mile thick barriers are snapped like thread and the real person inside is seen: strengths and weaknesses. It is the weaknesses that will cause the rejection that will eventually follow. And once the rejection has occurred, the stones are replaced, piece by piece, but only this time the cement is twice as thick and the barriers are ten times as restricting and the real person is locked inside and begins to huddle up, pulling in her knees up to her chin. And slowly, ever so slowly, the warmth of the lifeblood begins to fade and the teeth begin to chatter and the spirit grows weaker and weaker.
The pattern repeats itself until one day when someone does say, "Yes, I do want to know you," the real person cannot hear. The barriers have become sound barriers of protection and though people pound on the walls, the real person stays inside, quietly huddled, declaring to herself that she does not need others, for they only bring pain. And eventually the heart grows weak and cold from the strain and it dies.
Then one day, someone comes across the corpse that lays cold and shriveled up in in the corner and asks, "Who was she?" And no one can answer, for all they can say is, "We never knew her."
And I ask myself: will anyone ever know me?

Explaining the Story: When someone says, "Yes, I want to know you," this instills hope, but through experience hope becomes weaker and weaker. Without hope the spirit dies (thus, the physical parallel in the story).

A sad ending to a true story based on real-life characters.

I am no longer that depressive 17 year old.  But I do sometimes go back to this and find myself in the same place.  Recently I have written about introspection and narcissism.  I have thought about how I viewed talking of onesself as self-centred.  And I am rejecting these notions.  Because to be known I have to talk about myself.  This is a healthy thing, not narcissism.  

I have no thoughts on how to conclude here - it is what it is, I suppose.  Here is a longing I have, and I daresay, you might have also.  I trust these thoughts will bring us to a truer sense of community and growth - where we are known and ultimately share in the knowing we have with God and spread His joy in being known by Him and in the priviledge of being able to know Him even to the smallest degree.

4 comments:

  1. These are all true thoughts. And I think we all struggle with the same things to some degree.. to be known and to know.. to feel safe and comfort in these relationships. It's all good!

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    1. Thank Jena! So glad to know there are actually safe people out there to share our true selves with :)

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  2. Hello Sarah, haven't met you personally but just wanted to tell you how amazing are your blog entries, it was inspiring!

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement! Feel free to share...

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