Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Striptease

Although the human path is diverse and varied, all of us intersect at life's mandatory stops: the yearning to be loved, the need to eat, the search for meaning, the desire to have a high school experience like Saved by the Bell and dreams.  We all dream.  And here, at this intersection, many order the same drink.  In other words, there are individual dreams unique to you, then there are those dreams common to millions like falling and the classic naked in public.

 Setting aside nudists, Aborigines and the Amazonian Indians, most sane human beings aren't going to take a stroll through Times Square in their birthday suits.  So why is naked in public such a common fear theme? Because we all fear the shame that comes with being exposed. My uneducated guess is that naked in public has nothing to do with being attire-less, but rather with humiliation, embarrassment, negative attention and being seen without the ability to hide.  We like to wear clothes that conceal those parts of us we don't like--parts others would deem disgusting and that might shock and awe our friends and neighbors.

Naked in public threads its way through the human fabric because, I believe, we all fear being exposed. We don't want our acquaintances, neighbors, friends, families and even those who know us best to see those unlovable and disturbing parts of our hearts and souls. So we cover them up with layers of social clothing. We know if we shed our facade and disrobe, everyone will stare, some will run and others will point their fingers and condemn; and rightly so, because those parts of us are not pretty...not pretty at all.

But sometimes the clothes are too much. Either we get tired of wearing them, or more commonly, those dark parts of our souls break free from the dungeons where we've chained them and we find ourselves bared and naked. That's what I did. I'm guilty and as a result I'm living naked in public. All those parts of me I've tried to hide are now open topics of conversation for both people who know my brand of undies, to those whose extent of knowledge about me are the passing daily exchanges, "How are ya?"
"Fine. You?"

I cannot hide anymore. I cannot pretend anymore; and it's not because I don't want to, but because it's too late. In that very fact is both great freedom and great shame. But here's the truth: when you first stand on stage buck naked, in front of the world, you want to run, hide and wrap yourself in the curtain. But the longer you are out there and the longer you are exposed, the more those stares and jeers become routine. Eventually, being naked becomes the norm.

I'm not there yet, but this blog is dedicated to helping me become comfortable in my new-found nudity. I write here, not because I have something important to say, know something you don't, have impeccable logic or the answers you seek, but because I'm attempting to be honest, to trust in hope, and stand with the Risen Christ.

Perhaps you are somewhere on this spectrum: 1. with a secret in your heart too black to tell, knowing that doing so would lead to being disowned and shunned by all you love, 2. struggling to overcome sin yet feeling incapable of doing so, or 3. perhaps bared and naked!  I don't have answers for you ('cause I need answers).  I don't have 12 steps.  I'm not offering advice ('cause I'm searching for advice of my own).  But, I can relate.  I will listen.  I will accept you.  And most importantly, I will stand with you as we stand alongside the Risen Christ.

If you would like to visit with me, a fellow struggler, shoot my wife an email:  Give her a contact method and I'll get in touch with you.

Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ...[nothing] in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 comment:

  1. Meg and I were talking about this post the other day, and it has kept coming back to me over and over. We were saying that it is sad, like you said that we are so resistant to bare ourselves to our brothers and sisters, and even though we can't we try to clothe ourselves in front of our God. We try so hard to keep ourselves closed off and separate from everyone, trying to do everything by ourselves. But, God created us to be bare, and naked. It was sin that produced shame, and to over come sin, we have to overcome the shame that comes with it. I love what you are doing with this blog. I can't imagine how hard it must be to have your junk out in front of everyone the way you have, but I want you to know that Meg and I love you and Mary Beth. We have been praying for you and will keep praying for you. I also read your post about wanting to preach again, I have been praying for that too, when the time is right, and you are right, I know that God is not done with that gift he has given you.


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