Coming Out

350px-John_William_Waterhouse_-_The_Lady_of_Shalott_-_Google_Art_Project

it’s not that easy, coming out of hiding. let’s be real. just ask the Lady of Shallot. the reason we retreat into a safe little hiding place inside is because the world doesn’t feel like a safe place to be. we aren’t stupid. we know that when we are vulnerable it will be used against us by someone. that doesn’t mean it’ll be used against us by everyone, but how do you find those safe places to reveal your heart without getting annihilated before reaching that haven?

it’s a problem.

even the places where we are supposed to be safe…first with our parents, then our education systems, our churches, our peers, extended family (not in that particular order) – these systems and constructs are made of people, and inevitably people will let you down and fail to hold your heart carefully. these people will do what humans do, they will cause pain. we all know somewhere inside that people aren’t perfect. we say it, we claim it for ourselves in moments of embarrassment or when our own vulnerability is apparent, but do we really understand what it means to live in an imperfect world with imperfect people? can we allow people that cause pain, for no other reason than they are human, to have access to our most tender places? can we?

we are created for intimacy and there’s really no way around that.  so much of our pain comes from trying to avoid the very thing that makes us tick. something inside screams out that separation isn’t an acceptable life, and the deepest parts of who we are cry out for deep, meaningful connection, and boy do we ever try to find short cuts.

we use drugs, we use sex, we form harmful co-dependent bonds with people thinking that dependency is love, we use alcohol, we smoke, we use whatever will bring that momentary escape from the pain of our separation. we do all these things and stay hidden away from one another. and we are sad and depressed and angry and bitter and we long for one another in ways we don’t have words for, and then our bodies get sick and worn out, because hiding and staying apart from each other is actually incredibly hard work.

it takes a tremendous amount of emotional capacity to maintain distance and separation. i know. it’s counterintuitive.

can we make choices that bring us out of hiding and into the connections we were created to live with? can we chose to become vulnerable and step out of our self made fortresses? it’s not a question to be treated with flippancy. this question is one to be carefully considered and the cost weighed. because there is a cost. there is always a cost, either way, wether we stay separate or choose to connect, and we have to count that cost and make an informed choice.

the reason it’s so important to count the cost is because when it gets hard and you’re terrified of what you have chosen to do, and you’re stepping out into the open with your tender heart no longer protected inside your fortification, you’ve gotta know that it’s worth it. you have to know that the cost of vulnerability is more desirable than the cost of separation so you don’t cut and run back into hiding.

it’s not as easy as i want to think it is. the anxiety crushing my chest screams at me that it’s not worth it, don’t come out, stay locked away in there where it’s safe, even if it’s killing you – it’s better than the alternative – it’s better than getting torn to shreds by things you can’t control… and it’s a choice we all have to make for ourselves. because will i get hurt if i come out? yes. no question. will i survive it? yes. and what i get in the great escape from the high tower inside my own soul, is what i was designed to have – Love – and inside that Love is safety that doesn’t cause harm.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 john 4:18
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