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Living Bare

I sit in front of my keyboard and find myself unable to write more than a sentence on any given subject. As I look to express the various events of the last few weeks, I find myself gun-shy. What am I afraid of? When my heart was ripped open, and my life shattered to pieces, it was nothing to me to watch it being poured out like a drink offering into the ears and hearts of thousands. But as the blood coagulates around the wounds, I find myself self-conscious of what people will see. In the tearing of trauma, all there was to be seen was the bleeding heart of a mother. At this level we are all the same. But now… what if I am misunderstood? I’m bound to be different to most. Will the People of the World have the same tender response to the parts of me that are not visibly labelled broken? The parts that have been formed this way through the chronic rather than the acute?

I preach and share and write and preach again, and it’s inevitable that some things have been said clumsily, or taken the wrong way. I’m an imperfect girl in an imperfect world attempting to magnify a perfect God. And the love and acceptance of the People of the World is like an ocean wave, but there are one or two rocks in the water. And it’s the rocks, it’s always the rocks, that capture our attention, and I turn my back to the wave and huddle. And before long I’m walking back up the beach and the water barely touches me anyway.

Will I stop? Will you? Will I turn and face the world? Will I let them see me in all my glory, when I know that I have no glory worth seeing? Will I let them look again at the way God made me, and yes, the scars, and the limp, and the unnecessary slump in my shoulders from years of believing I have to prove myself to be good enough? Will I toss my hair in the wind, and laugh into the spray of the waves and shout out, “I give up trying to measure up!”

Because I was made to be known, and so were you. And I wonder if there is a way to get out past the shore break, where love engulfs and rocks sink. I think of the wetsuit my husband bought me a decade ago, thinking to turn his wife into a surfer chic. It’s full length, extra thick and it holds a body tightly. It certainly makes you brave as you march out into the sea. But there is the inevitable moment when the water seeps in through the collar and chills your whole body, and you have to bear it before it warms you up again.

And I wonder, could Grace be so kind as to wrap me up in protective gear, and make me brave enough to walk back into the waves? Could I trust the God who wears my weakness to dress me in a suit of strength, and allow the water to drip back in in bearable trickles until I am fully submerged?

And I know I have a choice. Isolation would be easier today. Slowly allowing scabs to seal feels safer. But I have tasted the exhilaration of being free from fear, free to surrender, free to run into the wild waves of relationship.

A grin spreads over my face as I remember the frolics of night swimming and birthday suits. And I write.

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