Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sharing the Disjointed: Blogging about Life

When I'm not whining about grad school, grading papers or doing laundry, I'm usually sitting on my couch staring at a computer screen trying to figure out how to share my life with people I don't know.  (You know you're jealous).  I usually laugh over how disjointed my life probably seems--from telling students I can't keep clothes on to sharing our recent church displacement.

But disjointed is what life is.  We move from cleaning toilets to hosting Christmas without a second breath because that's what the day entails.  Why should my blog be any different?

This year was a tough year for a lot of people I know.  It was full of tough diagnoses, emotional trauma, budgeting and the highs and lows any relationship brings to the table.  So was last year.  And the year before.  And while I find myself praying that 2012 will be different, I keep wondering what different would look like.  What part of life would I be willing to erase for the sake of different?

More than once over the last three years, I felt that God was impressing, on me, the importance of authentic living.  Last night (and all day today), I kept hearing the words of Matthew 5:14-16:

Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven (The Message).
But the more I think about that verse, the more I remember the way I used to interpret it.  Shining my light meant I would wear the right clothes, say the right things, go to church Sunday morning and evening and on Wednesdays, spout Bible verses at people who were hurting and pretend the words "Jesus loves me" solved every problem.  (Hint:  They don't.)  I thought hiding the unsavory parts of life would show other people what it was supposed to look like.

I was a church person.  And what you just read was what I got out of Christianity.  Clothing.  Words.  Holier-than-thou.  Pretense.

Pretense is my natural inclination...even here.  I've been concerned that I'm sharing too much of my life with people I don't know.  Occasionally, I write something and wonder how I would feel if a student read it.  Frequently, I wonder what people think of me after they read a post.

Then, I think of the people who have poured into my life.  They stood on a stage and let me see all parts of them--from ugly to glory--and I'm the better for it.  Maybe that's what I'm hoping to do here.  I cringe when I think about the people who have read about our loss, but how can I possibly talk about what Jesus has become to me if I can't show you, tell you, where I've been?

A year ago, I thought I might take this entire blog down.  (There's an entire month missing in 2010 because of the delete button.)  I knew the content was going to be sad for quite a while afterward, and I just didn't see that sharing those things with the world was going to be beneficial.  I didn't want pity, and I didn't want to write.  Lying wasn't an option, and, other than rage and hurt, there wasn't much to share.

Then, there was this post.  It came as the result of a conversation with a friend who wondered why my writing was so much different than I was.

I guess that's when I got it.  Life is a gift--with all of its crazy, disjointed happenings.  Those happenings are shared and savored--by people who know and those we don't.  And while common experience ties us together as people, the uncommon experiences are the things that help us sharpen one another and learn to walk the unfamiliar path.

If my honesty draws one person closer to God, then a little bit of uncomfortable is worth it.

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