Here are some of these components he and I have been reflecting on (and thanking God for growing us in):
1) Vulnerability. I had to learn (and continue to learn) the gift and risk of putting myself out there. And it didn't start with Mr. F. It actually started a long time ago when I just couldn't manage my world anymore. Depressed and disillusioned, I struggled to make sense of the darkness I was in and finally admitted to myself I needed help. My mentor and counselor Patti was one of the safe places God gave me to slowly reveal parts of myself that had been hidden away, most especially from me. The light pierced the darkness only when I risked being exposed. This is true always. Period.
2) Authenticity. You can't get close to the false. There's a lot of false intimacy out there. It's when the self protected, covered over parts of you try to connect with the covered over, false parts of another. It's called pseudo-relating. We've all done it and are tempted to continue to do it, only trouble is it's wearying. It makes us tired, grumpy, pressured, and fake. The opposite of authentic. Truth is I'm a recovering fako. Yup! I'll always be tempted to put my best foot forward. It's only because I've tasted the fruit of authenticity and the joy of being known and loved that I continue transversing the path of authenticity. Love changes everything.
There's also a second part to authenticity I learned while I was seeing Patti. One day we were talking about this temptation to cover myself over in wrappings I thought people liked: "Put-together Susie," "Happy Susie," "Come through for you Susie." People seemed to really respond to "her." Only problem is on the inside I was dying. A slow decrepit death swept through my bones. The symptoms were depression, loneliness, anxiety, and fear. The usual suspects. If you're coming through for everyone else, where are the places you get rejuvenated and restored? If the demand on yourself is to be put-together, well then you let no one be strong for the not-so-sput-together parts of yourself. Love can't get in because the door to let it in is barricaded.
As we talked about my growing unrest and weariness trying so hard, Patti pulled out from beneath her chair a wrapped box. She explained the outside paper was actually covering the true beauty. The wrappings of this particular box only showed one aspect to the person. But then she took the wrapping paper off and showed what it was covering...a beautiful, one of a kind crystal goblet.
My power is made perfect in weakness.
W o w !
I'm going to leave us with that to reflect on today. Friday we'll celebrate a few more of the components that make true intimacy so captivating.