Barbara's Random Thoughts

Monday, February 27, 2006

Though I love you, still we're strangers...

Last Wednesday night, I shared my testimony with YAF. I spent maybe 30 or 40 minutes talking about what I've seen God doing in my life so far. The Sunday beforehand, I sang with the worship team, and I made the comment that singing was far less nerve-wracking than having to talk at YAF was going to be. It's one thing to sing someone else's words, and it's quite another to speak your own words--to put your own thoughts and experiences out there for public consumption. (And yet, I have no qualms about blogging. Hmmm.)

There's something quite scary for me about sharing who I am with a whole bunch of people. It's saying "here I am" and letting others come to their own conclusions about what that means.

Things went well at YAF, and I was able to share what I wanted to in spite of my nerves, but I've spent plenty of time since then analyzing and second-guessing myself. Should I have presented things differently, should I have shared more or less about certain things, did people really understand who I am at all? I do tend to be overly critical of myself, and I think I spend too much time wondering about stuff like this.

The best parts and also the hardest parts for me were the questions at the end and talking with people after it was over. Some people chatted with me, wanting to know more. Some thanked me for sharing what I did. Some said, "I know just what you mean." And then there was that one question, "So have you found a husband yet?" Sigh.

I shared a little about my questions about being single. I shared a little about my issues with control. I talked about some of the intellectual rather than emotional motivations behind my faith. And I wondered after some of the questions that people asked if everyone went home thinking that I'm an emotionally stunted control freak who's desperately hunting for a husband. Augh.

There are times when I feel like I am known, I am understood, and I glimpse something of a kindred spirit, of the race that knows Joseph (to borrow metaphors from Anne of Green Gables). And then there are times when I quote Prufrock inside my head: "That is not it at all, / That is not what I meant, at all."

The thing is, that what I shared last Wednesday, though true and somewhat comprehensive, is still not the whole story of who I am. That whole story takes months, even years of friendship to uncover. Without that context, I fear misunderstanding. And I don't like the feeling of being misunderstood. It's not as dramatic as all that, really, it's just kind of a nagging question that leads me to wonder to what extent we can ever really know each other.

You can't ever get inside someone else's head (thank God) and you can never quite adequately explain what it's like to be inside your own head. And yet, as imperfect as our knowledge of each other will always be, God still calls us to community. We are not here alone, and we are not called to live life alone. Even if we're never completely known and understood.

Though I love you, still we're strangers
Prisoners in these lonely hearts
And though our blindness separates us
Still a light shines in the dark
And His outstretched arms
Are still strong enough to reach
Behind these prison bars and set us free
-Rich Mullins, "Peace"
| posted by Barbara | 10:28 PM