Yesterday my papa died. That means my mom is now a widow and an orphan. Nobody seemed to notice how hard it was for her to be widowed. I wonder if they will notice how hard it is to be orphaned. Almost all of us are orphaned sometime. I recognize and fear the day when I will be an orphan. I have felt the sting of being spiritually orphaned and alone. It is what I pitched my book about. Even though it was time for death to come, I am sad. Sad for my mom – she has been an orphan, caring for her parents, first one and then the other, for a while now, but there is a finality in death.
My sister drove up to be with my mom. I live close to my mom, but I have three kids to care for, and I am glad my sister can do the job I am unable to do. We decide to go to dinner. I know my husband will not want to go. He doesn’t. My son has wanted to be alone with his dad, so they do that instead. My hubby senses I am sad and asks me why. Because my son needs him, I decide to pretend I am fine, that I don’t need him to come to dinner with me, and so in my lack of vulnerability, he does not draw near to me. I carry a deeper sadness to dinner. We eat quietly, my mom tearing up every now and then.
When I come home, the nightly routine of putting kids to bed ensues. I take some quiet after the kids go down to read and be, and then I come into the living room to be with my hubby. I decide to be vulnerable and ask him to read something out of the box I wrote about my papa’s death and the life that comes with it. He didn’t really want to read it, but he did anyway. Then he said that it was artsy, but he could tell it was good. I wanted to converse with him about it to draw close, but he was not interested, so I stopped.
We watched the show we watch. I felt lonely and my heart bled all over the couch as I gave into the cold nightly viewing of the TV that never really numbs the pain. After the program was over, I try to ask him about what he thinks we should do with the kids for the funeral. He thinks we’ve already decided the this from the past, but my views shift and change and I think it should be decided fresh each time. I feel too tired to talk to someone who feels so distant and too tired to plead my case. I do not want to bridge the gap. So we are quiet.
At bedtime, he asks me what is wrong, if I am mad. I don’t know what to say. He keeps pushing until I spew angry words. I forget that he is a human with insecurities just like me. I keep hiding.
My husband tried to draw near to me. He was not at fault. I wanted to mask my fear and sadness, I did not want it to be laid naked before him. And when I did lay naked by showing him my writing, he did not understand my vulnerability or what I needed. I wanted it to draw us close in a way that was comfortable to me, so I could share all of my bleeding heart. Instead, I crafted more fig leaves and tried to pretend that nothing was wrong – that the distance was not there. This is one of my speaking topics, and yet I still don’t always live it out.
Did you know that God requires our vulnerability? He calls us to come out of hiding, remove the false masks, and come wholeheartedly to him. Yeah, He loves enough to draw close to us, even when we don’t want to. We feel insecure and untrusting with others, but we never have to feel that way with God. We have to recognize that we can trust Him with every detail. We do not have to fashion masks or fig leaves to hide our bleeding hearts. He is a God who sees them anyway. He just wants us to draw close by trusting Him. As we learn to do this with God, we will learn to do this in relationships with others. It is not easy to be vulnerable and naked, but it heals us, sets us free, and makes us whole, when we give trust to the trustworthy.
Colossians 3:3 says, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Father fashions new clothing for us just as He did Adam and Eve in the Garden. We now clothe ourselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col 3:12) as we draw near to Him and allow him to take our bleeding hearts and make them whole again.
In what ways are you hiding today?
What have you seen happen when you removed false masks and fig leaves?