I started this weblog in July 2005. With this post, I mark the 150th post. I’m not a particularly prolific blogger…..just a few times monthly, as the mood and urge strike. I’ve learned to exercise more discretion in the things that I make public, probably a good thing. On the other hand, I believe that being willing to be transparent and vulnerable is a good thing and sets a good example for others. It enables us to reach deeper levels of communication in relationships, even though it can be painful at times as we risk being misunderstood or rejected.
This week I talked to several people about this issue. Most of them acknowledged that they withold a lot of themselves from others emotionally, even people they love and with whom they claim to feel “close”. My sense of it is that many of us build around ourselves elaborate walls, defenses against being hurt. We shut off remembrances of past experiences that were painful. And yet we act defensively out of those postures, even when they are not warranted. The longer we do it, the harder it is to let the defenses down and be real and honest with others.
In my workplace office I’ve posted a series of photographs from the lifecycle of the Monarch butterfly……an egg on a leaf, a caterpillar, a freshly spun cocoon, a maturing cocoon, and the newly emerged butterfly. The interesting thing about this process, in my opinion, other than the sheer beauty, majesty, and intricacy of the metamorphosis, is the fact that just before the developed Monarch butterfly emerges, the cocoon’s shell goes from a lovely green color that obscures the interior to a transparent clearness through which one can observe the Monarch just before it emerges. When I first discovered this little peculiarity of the Monarch’s lifecycle, it rang in my spirit as one of those examples of God’s revelation of spiritual principles mirrored in His physical creation. I think that as we, too, are metamorphosed by the working of the Holy Spirit, we are somehow enabled to become “transparent” in order that the new, maturing creature coming forth can be observed. I think the ability to be open, at a deeply personal and spiritual level, with other people, in appropriate settings and about appropriate topics, is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in one’s life.
I try to live according to that belief, being as honest, forthcoming and transparent as I can in all interactions. There are times, however, when my knowledge and understanding of a circumstance requires that I keep it to myself, at least for the time being.
Today, in a conversation with a friend, we were talking about a 60+ year old woman who’d had a baby. Both of us had our first children when we were just exiting our teen years. She said she’d heard one commentator talking about this new trend of elderly new moms say, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”
I guess my understanding of the benefits of transparency have circled around to this, too. Just because I have the liberty and comfort with myself to share certain things, no longer needing the defenses I once employed, it doesn’t mean that I always should.