Sunday, September 6, 2009

Holding Something Back

This morning, at church, I had a moment. These happen every now and again. Sort of a recognition that something/someone is speaking, and that it is time for me to listen.

The priest who preached this morning was talking about separation and relationship. But what created the moment was a statement somewhere in the middle about holding back. This is perhaps what I struggle with most these days. There is a part of me that I hold back. Whether from myself, God or's what I do. I'm not sure if I've ever figured out how *not* to hold something back.

Sometimes it's because I don't want to feel exposed. Sometimes it's because I fear the reactions of other people to something I say or express. Other times it's because I worry about what saying something out loud does. Does it give the statement some power or effect that it would not have had but before giving it words?

The topic that is most easily avoided by me these days is my divorce. Hell, I still have yet to tell many friends and most family that I am already legally divorced. That should perhaps be a signal to me that I hold back. At moments I'm not sure how to begin the conversation. At other moments, I am ashamed of my own choice in all of this, and so I avoid speaking the words. This morning's gospel was at least partially about a woman whose daughter needs to be healed. She begs Jesus to heal her child. It reminds me again that my own daughter will need to be healed from all of this.

And then I remember of course we all need to be healed in some way. From some old hurt. For me, more than ever, I need to be healed of my own old pain, old shame. There's still so much I carry with me that doesn't need to be carried any longer. It can be released. It's time. But, for whatever reason, I insist on holding at least part of it back. Saving it for some later day. When of course, this is precisely what traps me in the same spot I sit in day in and day out.

Perhaps not holding back is what I fear. What if I let out everything? What will happen? Will I be enough? Will I be accepted? Even in my frailty. Even in my sadness. Even in my joy. From very early on in my life I learned that to be sure I was accepted I did that which was acceptable. I was the class clown as a kid. As a young adult I married a man I knew wouldn't be what i needed because he accepted me. He promised to love me. That was enough. That was all I ever wanted. Or so I thought. Then I seemingly woke up one day. I think more as a result of having my own children as anything else. Or maybe it was just time, I don't know. Once the egg cracks, the contents are hard to put back in. So I find myself struggling with holding back. Where it was second nature, it now doesn't make sense to me. So, I've taken small risks in letting things out. I'm more honest with God than I've ever been. When my tears rise to the surface, I let them flow. And I don't apologize for it anymore.

The message this morning to me was this: You are enough. And you always were. You didn't earn it. You can't buy it or barter for it. From the moment you took your first breath, you were enough, all on your own. You are the beloved. There can be no more or no less. Stop holding back who you are. I created you. I know you intimately, completely. Just like the father of the prodigal son, my arms remain open to you. Now you must open your arms. You must only accept the gift that has always been yours, your birthright. This was what you were created to do.


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