Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Great Pretenders

The last 9 days I've been on an emotional roller coaster. I celebrated a new season in the life of a "little sister" in ministry. I told a lie and quickly told the truth and apologized. I laughed hysterically on the phone with my sister. I vented frustrations on the phone with that same sister. I celebrated the joy of my 6 year old reading a book out loud by himself for the first time. I listened to an old, dear friend tell me how I'd hurt her without even realizing it. 
In the last 9 days I've smiled, I've rejoiced, I've been rejected and appreciated in the same day. 
I've hurt and I've been healed. 
I've asked for forgiveness and I've forgiven. 

But the truth is, I've done all of this out loud. 
I haven't hidden in a closet and sobbed quiet tears. 
I did so loudly while lying on my bed. 
I didn't disagree sweetly with my best friend. 
I did so loudly; sitting in the car in my driveway infuriated that she had held on to such a hurt for so many years. Angry with myself for not realizing she was hurt all along. 
I didn't chuckle to myself when my sister & I shared silly banter. 
I threw my head back and laughed until my stomach cramped.
I missed my husband terribly this week, while our schedules kept us passing each other with only a peck here, reminders there, and backs turned, but touching at night. 
I didn't whisper I miss you...I sent a text, I lingered when we kissed, I cooked when I was he would know. 

I am not good at pretending. 

This thought arrested me moments ago when I was reading book #2 in the Hunger Game series. 
This thought arrested me months ago when I sat in the theater watching "Country Strong"...weeping long after the credits scrolled to an end & the screen faded black. 
Stories; although vastly different, filled with lead characters in the limelight haunted by their secret fears & worries, coached to smile, speak, & carry themselves as though all is perfect. 

I am not good at pretending. 

But SO many (leaders, artists, speakers, pastors, ministers, celebrities) are. "We" build them up because of a talent , then expect them to measure of to our varied expectations in their personalities as well. 
"We" leave no room for flaws. 
"We" leave no room for lessons unlearned. 
"We" leave no room for weaknesses. 

Imagine meeting your favorite singer in a quiet coffee shop. 
Your thrilled to meet him/her. 
You ask for a photo. 
He/She declines. 
Your entire perception of them changes. 
You couldn't know that they've just had a terrible fight with their spouse & said things they wish they could take back. 
You couldn't know that the following day they're scheduled to speak to hundreds of couples at a marriage retreat. 
You couldn't know that he/she has been struggling with low self-esteem & hates to see themselves in pictures because of the 10 pounds they've put on. 
You couldn't know that this is the first time in years they haven't been on the road at least twice a week...Bills are overdue, assistants and nannies need to be paid, and clothes to continue looking the part must be purchased. 
You couldn't know....

My heart went out this morning to those in the light whom we expect to always have the right answer simply because they had the right answer before. 
Those who shine on stage, and cry themselves to sleep in the dark. 
My heart broke for those with the ability to preach or sing us to our feet, but the inability to hear the still, small voice who called them to begin with. 

It may make me vulnerable. It may set me up for wounds unexpected.
But I cannot pretend...and I pray for all those who only know how to live...pretending. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi! :)

    I certainly appreciated this post, and it took me back to a specific memory. It was 2006, I believe, and me and my sister were in Houston for the Clark Sisters' live recording. We decided to shop at one of the malls, and while there we ran into one of my all-time favorite gospel vocalists. I was beyond flabbergasted. She was very cordial and said hello to us. I asked could I take a picture with her, and she politely said no, as she was spending the day with her young daughter. I looked down at her daughter, obviously unaware of her mother's talent and fame. We walked away & needless to say, as a naive 19-year-old, I was HEATED. And heartbroken. I didn't listen to her music for years because in my eyes, she just wasn't the perfect person I presumed her to be, anymore.

    Thank God, years later I realized, how selfish of me. The truth is, everyone needs time away from the image, the brand they've become... time to breathe. And as a loyal "fan", that's the least I could give her. But that's it.... we've let our "fandom" outweigh our support of the ministry...people are have to pretend because we've forgotten that they are just like us.... people, flawed and finding themselves in the eyes of a perfect Savior.

    I could go on :) But thanks for this post... and thanks to the Lord for you, as small conversations with you have opened my eyes even more on this subject. I'll continue to pray with you for all those in the limelight... they have such a weight to bear.