Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed that easily. –Dorothy Day
I love that statement. I came across it earlier in the year in a letter I received from Mars Hill Graduate School. It also brings to mind another favorite of mine by Victor Hugo from Les Miserables.
Do we really know the mountain when we do not know the cavern?
Why am I thinking about this now? Perhaps because it is the end of the year and I’m reflecting back on a year that was unlike any other in my life. There is the obvious of Liam being a focal point in my life now. However, I also think I grew tremendously this past year as a person. I am more in-tune with who I am, good and bad, mountainside and cavern.
When working in ministry there is always a pressure to keep up appearances. I gave up on this long ago, to a degree, when I was a missionary based out of Arkansas. Most of my coworkers in the organization were charismatic-types and there was direct and indirect pressure to play the part of a charismatic. I didn’t go along for a variety of reasons. I would be faking it, like many of them were. Most of them based it on emotions instead of truth, and that did not appeal to me at all. Most importantly, it was not me. I did not care to deny who I was, or how I interacted with God, just to appease some random person who felt more spiritual than me because they put on more of a show during “worship”. It led to wonderful remarks.
Worrying about what others think on matters that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things? Come on. Now, that’s not to say we should be flippant with our freedoms. We shouldn’t be in fear of trying to impress others over our cultural choices. Bring on Harry Potter!
More so, though, we shouldn’t have to hide our darkness. Unfortunately, when people have tried to be honest and vulnerable to others in the church about their hurts, their sins, their lives, they have been burned by someone. I think we all have experienced that to some degree. It’s one thing to not care about whether or not someone looks down upon us because we went and saw a rated R movie. Quite another when our failings are out in full view for people to see. You can’t know a mountain without knowing its caverns. It’s what makes those people in our lives special that know us, that know our caverns, and yet are still with us no matter what.
When you do have a core group of people you can let into your caverns, without worry of reprisals, it can be freeing.
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. –James 5:16 / The Message
Living together whole and healed. Wonderful. It’s one thing to be forgiven, another to be healed. To have those we can show our caverns to, our darkness to…to have those we can confess to, it helps with the healing.