Monday, January 26, 2015

More Thoughts on Sharing

I wrote a blog on Friday called Share. It was a link up to Five Minute Friday, and honestly was written out of the remnants of a bad week. I'd been sick with a fever and fatigue since Sunday. I had to cancel driving my husband to a business trip. I had to cancel everything for the whole week. My house was a mess. There was no home cooking. My son was clearly getting annoyed with me for not "taking care" of him (he's 21!). 

I was still trying to regroup from the previous week's encounters, and on Monday I found out via Facebook that a long time acquaintance/friend had died unexpectedly. Add to that, my hairstylist got fired, and it was just a bad week all around.

And on Friday morning there was that word -- Share. All I could think was maybe it would help me to process everything if I put it out there. I was right. It did.

I got some wonderful comments and I really appreciated them even if I didn't feel like responding to them at the time. But now that I've had time to reflect (and start to feel a bit better) I keep thinking about one comment in particular.

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. I've learned during my life to keep things to myself except for with a certain select group of people that I've come to trust because most people don't actually care, they're just curious and all too ready to pass judgment.

I know this feeling all too well. So let me clarify. I never intended to suggest that we all jump on the internet and share all of our deepest darkest fears and secrets. What I was trying to suggest was that we all need someone, maybe several someones, with whom we are truly authentic. 

I think more clearly by writing. I only talk to a select few people whom I feel I can trust completely (and occasionally larger groups with much less intimacy). I write because I can get it out there and I don't have to sit and watch someone's face while I say these things. I don't have to wonder what they're really thinking in the moment.

My husband and I went to visitation on Friday for our friend. It was incredibly crowded and my fever came back with a vengeance, so I wasn't feeling my best. We decided to leave rather than stand in line for hours, but on our way out we ran into a mutual friend. He and my husband were discussing the need for caring counselors in our current society. I offered up that I think more people are willing to talk with a professional these days because we don't open up to one another in the way small communities and close knit families used to because we live such insulated lives. We all put on out best faces and pretend everything's fabulous rather than risk judgment of our imperfections.

I believe God knew the profound vitality of sharing when he had James write

16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16 NRSV)

Confession/sharing creates community and allows for authenticity. Maybe we've bought into the idea that if we're all good Christian people our lives will be perfect, and if they're not we have failed somehow. That's a Puritanical belief that Satan uses against us because it works.

Confession, in this context, isn't about judgment or punishment. It's about being open and letting others see our needs and our dark places, just as they share with us. It's a communal activity to bring us closer together. Not to drive us apart.

We have to let go of misconceptions and be honest with one another if we want to live an authentic life. If we want to live as Jesus did.

That's what I try to do in this space, because for me it's safer to share with the blogosphere than to share one on one. But at least it's a first step. 



  1. You are so right, Melanie! And I think you're onto something about people preferring to pay for a counselor rather than bringing their burdens to their communities (our communities are so small today--how many of us really know our neighbors?). I'm glad you're feeling better, and I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend (what a horrible way to find out, though--on Facebook of all places :( ). May God bring your healing and comfort this week.

  2. Wow, Melanie! First I am sorry for your difficult week, and glad to hear you are on the mend. I'm delighted you have shared your writing out there. We need to share, and create change in our culture. As the Church, the family of God, we are so far off from the depiction of the first Christian communities in Acts.
    We, Christians, complain about our lack of community, but then we continue to behave in the same manner of which we complain. I think we actually have to be brave to go counter-culture and begin with just one person who is wanting to share life - real life. I've found this in my community. I've been modest about my sharing, but real and authentic in sharing the glories and the battles of life on this planet.
    My open sharing, one on one or small group for coffee, with other women who are a bit younger or going through similar struggles has been exceptionally well received. Change starts with me. Someone might take what I've shared and use it wrongly, but I can't be concerned with that. I desire to see change...God make the change in me...start with me, and through me begin a revolution of authenticity.
    Bless you, Melanie, for your courage. Keep going. Keep writing. You're a pioneer!!


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