A few weeks ago, I realized that I’ve had it backwards all this time. I thought that life would add layers to me, accessorize me, clothe me with new experiences. I thought that I’d eventually be dressed up, decorated, impressive and elegant.
Instead, I find out that life is more about stripping me one layer at a time. I thought that I was naked when I was born, but in some ways, I feel more naked now than ever before. I’m not exactly thrilled with the process of having relationships and ideas and beliefs yanked out of my grip and off my shoulders. I yelp, “HEY, THAT IS MINE!” but apparently it wasn’t at all.
In the beginning, as a child, my entire world was the loopy neighborhood of Whispering Firs. The boundaries were so certain, life was so predictable–we always had boiled potatoes, never baked, never mashed. I knew my parents, I knew my siblings, I knew I would get good grades in school and that I was good at drawing puppies.
To be enrobed in that simple, suburban childhood world was to be safe.
Except–as I see now–to be swathed in simplicity is to be a child. And it’s not real. When you grow up, when you become more of yourself, you end up shivering without the cloak you expected. Nothing you touch is as it seems–it’s not cashmere but rags–and letting it go makes more sense than wrapping yourself up like a mummy.
And so, I find myself with less protection and fewer absolutes. Some convictions are sharper, some disintegrated; some ideas turned out to be wrong, some expectations impossible.
I am shaken, but not broken.
And I still believe two things:
God is good.
The truth sets us free.