Still Waters Run Deep And Then Some
A woman in one of my former churches was a master at appearing as though she was completely fine, even when she was facing some of the most difficult things a person could face.
I would often ask her how she was doing, and she would smile a tearful smile, and tell me that she was like a duck--on the surface she appeared calm and managed, but underneath the water, her feet were churning just to keep her going.
The imagery she used was striking. It made me realize how easy it is for most of us to go about our life (especially within our faith communities) without ever letting on how we really feel, what we're really going through.
Shakespeare spoke into this when he wrote, "Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep." (Henry VI) That imagery definitely works for me when I'm feeling broken and vulnerable, afraid to share my struggles.
Most of us never really share how we really feel, what we are really going through. People will ask us how we are doing and we reply without even thinking, "Fine." or "Good." The surface might be smooth, but the depths conceal the truth about what is going on inside of us.
Our church, our faith community should be a place where we are able to honestly share what is really happening beneath the surface. It should be a place where you can share your struggles and brokenness and be embraced and find healing.
But most of the time, people will declare that church is the last place on earth where they would share what's really happening in their life. They fear being judged, being held in low esteem. The Church needs to do better.
The Apostle Paul exhorted the Galatian church to "...bear one another's burdens." The ancient Greek language Paul used can be interpreted here to mean, "Take up, for a bit, the burden that is too heavy for your sister or brother to carry alone, and you carry it for a while."
And we also need to be willing to be open and vulnerable in order to receive that grace from our community. Ann Voskamp writes, "The way to find the light in the dark is to make your hand reach out--reach out in thanks, reach out in giving."
May you reach out in vulnerability and trust the Spirit to move your sisters and brothers to envelop you in wholeness. May you in turn embrace those who tell you how they really feel, and let them know God is with them.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.