What is the light you hold to get you through this dark cold season?
It’s my grand experiment with connection. I feel like a mad scientist toying with something as impossible as time-travel. This has the danger of sounding kind of awesome, a little cool, and fairly evolved.
But let me tell you: it’s not cool. Not by any stretch. Not at first.
It’s trading the reliable drug of hiding and isolation for the cold shower of reality. It’s the panicky deep breathing of feeling vulnerable that forces oxygen deep into my lungs. It’s the rush of my plaintive gaze being met with a steady look of love and acceptance. It’s as unbelievable as that blasted time machine actually popping through history.
As I hold this light of practicing connection, it’s terrible. I feel the familiar drag of hiding, but also see the spark of something long ago familiar, like a conscience, on the other side. From behind there is the greasy tug at my skirts to come away, far far away, to the place where unworthy things go. And there is a trembling flame ahead that barely lights the next step forward into connection. In that place, all I can ever see is the next step. This feels more like a dare, than a step. Like a lumberjack wearing ballet shoes because he lost a bet to his drinking buddies. Hardly graceful.
Let me be clear: in my experience, the next right step always feels more like a stumble.
I come to my husband, holding in my head a herky-jerky script hard won over the years of doing everything wrong. Buzz words like “I feel,” “I need help,” “Please hug me,” ring out. After I gauge his level of safety, it usually all tumbles out something like: “Though I know it’s all baloney, and I’m probably baloney for feeling this way, I’m pretty sure I just mess everything up in our family all the time and I’m feeling like I should just go away and hide, but instead I’m being stupid and telling you all of this like an idiot and I’m sure you agree with me.” My voice gets higher as it goes. And louder.
Then he dazzles me by a blinding tenderness. He coos at me and welcomes me in like I just discovered our secret meeting spot carved from a thicket in the woods. “You found it! I’ve been waiting for you. You said the secret password. Come in! I brought snacks.”
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.Revelations 3:20
Sometimes it’s all in my head. Sometimes it’s not. Sort of. Sometimes I’ve committed legit offenses that we talk through. But always with tenderness. When I come to him naked of soul and feeling utterly stupid, he doesn’t recoil. Though I recoil from myself, he just doesn’t.
And I find myself at the cross of Jesus. I recognize the greasy pull of hiding was the accuser of my soul. I see the spark of conscience was the Holy Spirit in me, drawing me into the light.
And suddenly I’m living the Bible:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.1 John 1:7
Oh, so THIS is fellowship. It’s pretty terrible: all this shining light revealing my SELF. But I’ve heard to be loved is to be seen: every sagging, wrinkling, suspicious, self-righteous part. I’m learning to step toward the light of connection, and hold on tight. Lord help me. Help us all. And bless those who welcome us out of hiding into the light of godly connection.
God bless our big burly emotional and spiritual midwives.