Friday, June 15, 2012

Inside Out

The expression to "wear your heart on your sleeve" which denotes the way a person shows their emotions, or lets their insides hang out for all to see, is interesting because it refers to the exception rather than the rule. Most people are intensely, almost fearfully, private.

My wife and I ran into an old acquaintance the other day who was serving customers when we noticed him. As we waited, my wife asked for a reminder about the name of the man's wife. Ex-wife, I corrected, and then watched her shocked expression. She made a comment about how she thought they were a strong couple, and we agreed that you never really know what's going on underneath the surface. Behind the social veneer, the brick wall we all build to protect ourselves, are our real lives, and many of them aren't very pretty. To all but those closet to us, we wear a mask and play the roles we are expected to play. We fake smiles. Fake interest in others. Fake enthusiasm. In Australian vernacular, we bung on an act.

To some extent, our unwillingness to share the carnage of our personal lives with others could be seen as a protective act towards them. Who wants other people's crap when they have their own assorted miseries and sufferings to deal with? Imagine what it would be like if we all let our insides hang out, if we all wore our hearts on our sleeves. If we shared our pain.

Here's a piece of me: while accepting the obvious that I still have much to learn, I feel anxious and uncertain about the continuation of this course. I lost my part time job last week and this has added to feelings of regret that I quit a secure job to pursue further study. As much as I pray, as hard as I try, I cannot find peace in this situation, and yet I cannot get out of it. I know I can trust God with my future because he has always been faithful to me, and his plan for me is big enough to cover my earnest, albeit occasionally wayward, attempts to follow Him, but it still feels all wrong.

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