Feb. 20, 2008
The sunsets here are spectacular. Like a brush swiped the sky with watercolors of orange, blue and lilac – and in the center of it a burning orb that is too magnificent to look at. It’s funny, how I tend to pass right by it without a second glance. Something so spectacular seems to become mundane. Peter made mention of the sunset this afternoon and asked me to come see it, I pulled myself away from emptying the dishwasher to give it a glance. It seemed average to me, but Peter took the time to point out details that I barely noticed. And those details where as rich as needle work on a tapestry. It takes time to notice the significance.
One of the things I love about Peter is that he always seems to notice beauty in the seemingly unspectacular. I’m not sure if this speaks about his attraction to me, but I’ll not self deprecate here. No need to uncover my own identity issues. When Peter has the camera he takes pictures of things that I would never be inclined to photograph. I like faces, happy people with arms linked, goofy poses with slap jawed grins. Those are the pictures I love. Peter takes pictures of paintings and cracks on the floor and shadows on walls, or random signs that have funny graphics. Maybe I want to remember happiness and Peter chooses to remember moments.
Today I let Peter read something that I wrote late last night. I lay in bed, typing away with him sleeping beside me. Like I said, I’ve felt the need to express, and have finally decided to write in order fulfill this need. Last week I tried painting, but I was continually disappointed with my “art.” Maybe writing will help fill this need I’ve had. Anyway, after he read it he came to me and said that he appreciated learning some of my thoughts, and indicated that some of the ideas I expressed were new to him. I wondered how that could be and asked him. He told me that I’m not always that verbal with what I’m feeling. I was surprised, I thought I did a good job of letting him know what I’m feeling, where I’m at with life in general – of being open with him. I guess not. As much as I like to pretend Peter can read my mind, I guess he can’t. Well, at least I’ve still got some mysteriousness. (amen – peter says.)
Sometimes Peter says something to me, and my mind starts racing in response. I’m thinking scenarios, and words and whole ideas that leap out of what he said. And after a few moments, I haven’t said a single word, and I don’t even realize it. Peter does. He waits patiently for a response and even though my mind is flooding with ideas born from his words, I blurt out, “yeah, that’s a good idea,” or “wow, that’s interesting.” Is this because I don’t know how to say what I’m really thinking? Or is it because being inside my head is a safe place? Even though true relationship requires words spoken, ideas shared, even the crazy ass stupid ones. Everyone needs a safe place that’s not just within themselves. Peter is my safe place. I need to learn how to communicate more – and for me that equals vulnerability – which is just plain hard.
Lately, I’ve been pushing myself in my watches to pray out exactly what I’m feeling. It’s pretty darn liberating and equally scary. I’m trying to let go of my “this is a good prayer” filter and just say the words that are clogging up my brain. Sometimes the prayers are so stupid that I feel embarrassed. I say things that don’t really make sense…and worst of all I’ve just said it into a mic. What am I, 12? Who prays like this? Why do I have some religious ruler that I use to judge myself with when I speak to God? Is it because people are listening, and I want to seem deep and mature in my faith? Well, I’ve decided I’ll be authentic for a while and see what happens. I’m giving myself permission to say what it is that I really want to say and not couch it in religious terms or put the yoke of maturity around my prayers. And I think to myself, maybe I’m finally starting to really pray now. Without a mask. It’s pretty vulnerable, I tell you. But being a follower of Christ requires authentic vulnerability, and that takes time to learn.
When Jesus came into Jerusalem on a humble donkey, the people shouted out hosanna, which means in Hebrew, save us. As they cried out to Him they laid palm branches down and even their own clothes for Him to walk on.
Clothing was and still is a sign of position and identity. To throw the very clothes that you’re wearing off of you, in front of God and everybody, is surely a terrifying thing, and a costly thing. Perhaps in that ancient culture they understood something that I’m still learning. In order to welcome Christ’s saving grace and acceptance in my life I must be willing to be vulnerable, with Him and just as importantly, with others. In doing so I began to realize what a desperate case I am. This vulnerable heart is the real me, and the real me understands how pathetic I am. The real me knows I need safety but even more so I need saving. And so, this vulnerable me that hides inside my safe place is learning to cry out, “save me.”