From this spot, with my legs folded under blankets and red coffee cup at my chin, I see the light pop to life once again, through the dining room window across from where I sit — just as it does nearly every dark morning.
And there in the pool of our neighbor’s motion-activated house light is the marmalade cat balancing her weight on thin fence planks, looking like she’s been caught in the act of something again.
She seems to angle her body to peer right inside my window, and maybe she’s wondering if anyone’s noticed her standing there or perhaps her eyes are naturally drawn through my window to the place where the lamp light bathes me.
The one exposed by the light seems to seek the company of another in the light.
And I wonder how many years did I live like the cat, stunned by the exposure of the beam flooding down and wanting another to stand there with me? How much did I want to be seen while fearing standing apart, exposed, other?
How much did I long to know I was not alone?
I ached and longed and worked so my perfection would fulfill, cause me to appear together. I tried to power right through my weaknesses and master those ugly parts, so I would be approved and enough.
But weaknesses are forever part of this flesh and blood life, and so I found myself uncovering another and another of them, then strangely longing to be seen in all these ugly parts that were rags flapping like flags.
For to be known in those failings and loved — that would be something different altogether. That a kind of grace like no other gift.
Over the years, I strained my ears to hear those who might share their messes. Not in a barrage of complaints, nor in streams of unending self-criticism and regret, but in a way that spoke it out while recognizing those pieces, those flapping flags, do not represent the fullness of us.
I’m thinking about all this in part because yesterday my post about stomping on ideal exploded the behind-the-scenes of my blog, and I nearly quadrupled any previous reader numbers I’ve had in the year and a half I’ve written here, which is to say imperfection strikes a cord. And so there are many new friends reading here today — joining up through MOPS’ Facebook page where they shared my piece, and I am so glad you are here, and it is no accident.
You are a treasured creation. A beautiful daughter. Created for purposes beyond your understanding in these slow days and fast years.
We may revel in our strengths and document them in photos and celebrate the victories and milestones, as well we should, but I’m reminded again after yesterday that it’s in our weaknesses that we are most known. It’s in our frailties that we connect and know we are not alone.
Yes, you are not alone.
Those years ago, when I began to walk with those who shared their mess-ups and mistakes and regrets, I saw I was “not the only one” (as a woman told me yesterday in a comment), and it felt so freeingly good to tell the truth about myself. And that is why I can write about my ugly behavior and my insecurity and struggles with depression and anxiety, and I am not afraid because neither is that all I am.
And I am breathing this: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
Of course I still want you to think well of me, and I’m not forever wallowing in my failings and shortcomings, this introspection that has no real answers. But I am learning the full taste of freedom because I’m coming to know the One who makes me whole and the glorious communing when life pain is shared. When we are touched by Light greater than any darkness.
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