Sunday, April 7, 2013

Letter to a Friend

Dear One,

I confess, I am a poor friend.  I have not been honest with you.  I am not who you think you see.  I have worked very hard through the years, to create an impressive facade.  For this I am sorry.  By creating this facade, I have unintentionally placed undue pressure on you to focus on performance and measurable results.  For this I am also sorry.  But more than anything else, I am sorry for looking down on you, because my facade was better than yours.

I have spent years building up the image of a woman who can do anything, and who does all things well.  I sewed and crafted, cooked and baked.  I read books, and gardened, and renovated, and decorated.  I homeschooled my children and raised small livestock.  I volunteered my time and efforts in the church and in my community.  I was well spoken, and I always tried to look the part.

And then one day my house of cards came crashing down, and I realized that none of the things I could do with my hands mattered, if I was not able to hold love in my heart.  And my heart was a sieve.  I was so full of holes, that I was bleeding out.  

This realization immobilized me.  Even if I had wanted to somehow reconstruct the shattered facade, I could not have done so.  I laid in the rubble, and thought I would never sew another quilt, or frost another cupcake, or lead another Bible study for as long as I lived.  I did not care if I did.  

I cried at the strangest times.  I withheld myself from my loved ones for months, even years at a time.  Yet I would find huge tracts of sadness and bitterness flowing out of me unchecked, brought forth by the glance or word of a person that did not mean to unloose the deluge.  It was a horrible feeling to not be able to trust myself to open or close at appropriate times.

And thank God, by the grace of God, I have not come through.  Instead I have learned to live in this shattered place.  The house of cards still lays scattered about me, and that is where is belongs.  

The work of my hands, is just the work of my hands.  I love to work, and I love to love on people by working for them.  But my work is not the measure of my worth.  Neither is the reputation I gain by the quality and quantity of my work.  And that reputation was very important to me, if I was to be totally honest with myself.

In truth, I recognize that my reputation isn't worth much of anything at all, unless I am known for loving people.  Me, the broken down house-of-cards girl, loving other broken down house-of-cards people.  The only kind of people there are.

But I realized this horrible thing about myself today...this little section of stacked cards still standing.  I realized that I am looking down my nose at you, because once upon a time my card house was bigger than yours.  I still take pride that my cooking was tastier and my baking prettier.  That my quilts were more intricate and my stitches tinier.  That my home was tidier, and my children could all write an excellent persuasive essay.  That at my most proud and my most broken, I still did it better than you do.

I admit to you dear one, that I am astounded and ashamed of myself, to discover this mean little tower of cards still standing.  So that when you approach me with your cards slipping through your fingers, your heart like a sieve, feeling like you're bleeding out...we are separated.  Kept apart by that delicate little structure that makes me feel more and you feel less.

I can knock it down, and I can tell you so.  But I am so sorry I let it be there in the first place.  Please do not mistake me for anything but what I am.  A broken down house-of-cards girl, living in a shattered place.  Feel free to join me.  Don't mind the mess.


Hedged in Beauty said...

I'm certain your letter is not to me specifically, but I'm still glad you wrote it!

I homeschooled back when "the official uniform" for homeschooling moms was the long (insanely modest) to-the-ankles denim dress.

I refused to comply. My kids spotted one on sale and begged me to get one, not because they thought it was attractive, but because they had noticed it was "the uniform" and I was out of compliance. The dress was cheap enough... so brought it home and hanged it in my closet and laughed hard at it every time I saw it... until I eventually donated it away... with tags on.

I didn't use the buzz curricula of the day... I leaned toward unschool (but again I laugh as even "official unschoolers" scoff that my wanton homeschool ways were never relaxed enough for their strict set of standards of the standardless "officials" have established for relaxed learning)

If any superhomeschool mom rang my doorbell unannounced I'd smile wide and invite her to visit for a while, instructing her to just step over anything out of place that might cause her to trip.

Our family would attend the covered dish dinner thing-ys but as superhomeschool mom would urge me to bring my best-home-made whatever... I'd usually insist, I'm better at buying my contribution than baking it.

In the beginning, I felt tremendous judgement and shame trying to be lumped onto my shoulders to measure up to all that every superhomeschool mom had asked of me... but in the midst of it all, my King assured me I was performing for an Audience of One... and learned that my dance before Him is for His pleasure, no one elses.

When I'd still get down on myself that my home/menu/homeschool was not of the glossy magazine perfection quality that superhomeschool mommas kept trying to inflict upon me... I was comforted by these verses...

Luke 10:41-42
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

The fact that my name is Mary gave that verse all the more impact for me.

I'd love to say I sit in my less than perfectly maintained house with my eyes constantly fixed on the eyes of my Savior, listening exclusively to His Word, yeah, but that's not the case either.

So I don't get to pull the holier than thou card... darn. ;-)

I can confidently encourage you to joyfully go forth with whatever the King sets before you as you dance the dance He desires from you each day... Somedays, for His pleasure, our dances might be in synch... other days our dances, for His pleasure, might be wildly different... Whatever you're called to, I encourage you to go forth with joy confident that He directs your steps... and other's too!

Hedged in Beauty said...

I knew we've met... I don't subscribe to many blogs of people I've not met...

I just didn't remember who belonged to this blog. ;-)

I was curious who had written this... peeked around a bit and figured out who you are, and please let me say I've never taken you for a minute to be the scoffing, looking down upon others variety... I'd always perceived you as genuine and tender hearted in our brief yet awesome encounters...

Grateful your heart is tender to the Lord's leading... I'm certain it is how he keeps you sweet!!!!

Hugs to you!!!!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon this particular blog post and must say, it was very self foucused & has a certain pathology that I find disturbing. You said "I" or "me" many times.We are to be crucified with Christ and this was just a poetic excuse to air things that didn't really talk about the redeeming work of God.Your struggle seems to be pride and jealousy. Good news is the Gospel covers these sins.Keep looking to the Lord and ask yourself, is my blogging really glorifying Christ, or is it to fuel my pride?