Tonight is eerily quiet. Yet in the silence, a deafening collision has taken place. Two worlds—that of a simple, unassuming, sheltered life; and the world of unspeakable pain, betrayal, and abandonment—have crashed into each other.
Real life isn’t all smiles, hymns, organs, and a big steeple.
Real life is broken. It’s ugly. Consider yourself fortunate if you haven’t dealt with substance abuse, a cheating lover, rape, alcoholism, suicide, physical abuse. . . need I continue?
So I have to ask myself, Is this the world I want to set foot in?
Am I ready to face the ugliness?
I’m not gonna lie; my own life is full of its ugliness. Lies, deception, addiction. But suddenly my brokenness pales in comparison. My life was truly sheltered.
So what’s it gonna be? Am I jumping in? Or am I running back to what’s comfortable? Maybe I prefer the organs, hymns, and steeple. Where secrets are kept locked away for fear that the parishioners will shun, and the elders will discipline. Where relationships are skin-deep because no one knows the real me. And no one knows the real me because the real me will get the fake me into trouble.
Keep smiling, everybody. God loves you. And so do we. . . as long as you’re not broken.
Or maybe I should embrace the ugliness. Where secrets can safely come out because people embrace the pain, and they mentor and suffer alongside. Where relationships connect at the heart because people know the real me. And people know the real me because the fake me doesn’t exist.
It’s scary because I’m vulnerable now. We all are. We’ve admitted that we don’t have it together. We’re afraid because we think that we’ll lose each other if we expose our brokenness.
Because that’s what happened under the steeple, isn’t it? We lost friends because the real us wanted to come out. We were judged, ridiculed, laughed at, scolded, disciplined.
Misunderstood. Rejected. Scorned.
So maybe this messy life is where I belong. After all, the first step to healing is admitting there’s a problem. I always thought it was strange how no one ever had problems under the steeple. And those who did weren’t far from disappearing.
No wonder people are afraid of the Church.