Transparency is something I have valued since childhood.
Because of where I went to school, because of the neighborhood I grew up in, because of the way I was raised and the fact that I felt underprivileged as a child (I now know this was ludicrous)…. for many reasons being REAL has always been something I value with ferocity. I have never wanted ANYONE to call me fake. Call me stupid, call me crazy, just not fake.
And yet, now, more than ever, I find that I cannot always be completely forthcoming about what is REALLY going on with me. There are many reasons for this, but a large part of it is because of who WE ARE and where WE LIVE. And I kind of, no I really, hate it. I hate it that if I were honest about some of the things that really go on inside my house, inside my family, inside my heart, we would probably just need to pack our bags and go home. I hate it that I need counseling, but can’t get it because of my location. There is very little help on this field for people in crisis. And the strange thing about this field is that when you live here, you often feel like crisis is something you deal with every day.
Another reason that I can’t be forthcoming is that I’m an extrovert who loves to OVER share and I’m married to an introvert who demands privacy and being conservative in the sharing of details and holding our cards really close. I have written countless updates and letters and posts that we have thrown away, deleted, and taken down because of this personality difference. He is deliberate and careful about everything that goes out. This is just so not me.
My whole life people have told me two things, “You have a way with words,” and also, “Wow, Hope…. filter…. turn on your filter.”
And so I find myself walking a tightrope that creates stress. Really, honestly desiring to both please those in authority and also to be authentic. I want to share with the world the ugly parts, the things I struggle with, but I also want to be respectful. And sometimes I hate it that I end up being FAKE. We all share the best parts with “our public”, but somehow it’s so much worse when you live far away and you do the job we are trying to do. How much should I tell?
This morning I was told that I need to share with everyone, “just how horrible you really are.”
And so I said, “OK!” I might have screamed it.
What a relief. I would love to tell you …ALL OF YOU… the curse words I have shouted. I would love to tell you the awful things I have said behind closed doors that have torn him down, that have hurt my kids. I will share with you that my youngest child woke up this morning to our screaming and his first words were, “Please don’t fight!”
But how much do I share? Because things seem hard and impossible today, but we REALLY live a roller coaster life. This is my fault. I have no middle ground. We are really, really happy. Or we are miserable. Those who are closest to us and closest to me know about this. They know that we have always struggled. They know about drama and really hard days. They know that just because today it all seems impossible, that doesn’t mean that a week from now we won’t be able to conquer it all. They know that the leaning on God and the grace that it all takes is something that we must have constantly- or else.
These are the things that some people I have known for years know nothing about. I want you to know who I am.
How much do I share? The details of what I have said and the things he has done? Where is the line? For me personally? And as I think about this I wonder how many of my friends and acquaintances feel the same way. I know that most of this is personality. Some people are private or introverted and do not desire to share the details and the secrets of their life with anyone. Others share whatever they want with little regard for how much people want to hear. There’s no black and white line here. It’s all grey. And now, at 36, I again say to myself, “This is your life. Who do you want to be? How do you want them to see you? Which way is the right way in this situation?”
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. ….Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
excerpts from James