June 12, 2013

fake it till you make it

I lied to dozens of people at church, just three days ago.

I woke up that morning feeling as fine as I can at 5:42 a.m., with no intentions of being dishonest to anyone, least of all my church family.  But somehow as the morning unrolled, the fine feeling rolled off to somewhere dark and dusty and I (and my family) was left with a sharply fragile shell of my former self.

I was impatient, irritable, and desperately unhappy.  I felt my all failings instead of all His faithfulness, and believed every lie thrown my way.  Disorganized - yes.  Undisciplined - true.  Alone - always.  Ugly - yes.  Unlovable - that, too.

By the time I got to church I was in bad need of it, but too battered to ask for help.  I never answer "fine" to "how are you" but I did that morning, to everyone who asked.  Anything more truthful would have shaken out an overflowing I wasn't ready for.  I wore the churchy smile I so despise, hiding myself behind "Good morning" and a handshake.

The funny thing is, after two hours of church and another of the unexpected [forgotten] fellowship meal ... I was starting to believe my own act.

It was like a piano piece, played so often your fingers can play it in your sleep, that saves the day when your mind forgets.  Or kneading bread, or riding a bike, or dialing your sister's number, or any of those things that your body knows more deeply than your brain, and can carry on without your conscious thought, but if you stop to think about it, you lose your rhythm, your balance.  My act carried me.

It made me think that maybe, for all the value I place on honest vulnerability, perhaps there is value, too, in acting on what's true, even when your heart can't see it.  Not to deceive, but to stand witness to what really is, instead of what really isn't.

What do you say to this?  Truth?  A fake escape?  Courage or cop-out?

[And if you're tempted to say "I told you so" (as I'm sure at least one of you is), forebear.  Lessons do not come to us all in the same order, else what would we need grace for?]

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