Skip to main content

be n*ce

We live in an odd culture. Sometimes I take a step back and look at the things we do and don't do and find acceptable and awkward and it seems so strange. I was talking to a friend yesterday and despite my prodding, she found it difficult to say anything nice about herself. Why? It just feels wrong to say something like, “I am a kind person.” It feels proud and slightly false because can one ever be truly kind? I have other friends who like to tease me (I am an easy mark for this, I will admit) and I know this joking and trading harmless insults and sparring banter is a sign of affection, but on the other hand, why can’t they just tell me, “I like you and value spending time with you?” Why is that so difficult to say? Why must we couch all our affections in these insulting words that we don’t mean and adopt faux modest behaviour that keeps us from acknowledging the truth about ourselves?

I am a fairly straightforward person, which can get me in trouble sometimes, but if I like someone, I try to tell them. I don’t “play” nice - I will not say something slightly untrue just to avoid hurting your feelings; I will not call you my friend easily, but when I do, you know I will back it up 100%; I will tell you what I see in you – the good things and those that might need a bit of work – and then offer to help you improve in those areas; and I am trying to work on telling the truth about myself as well. And let me define “the truth” here. It is what God says about a situation or a person, not just my or anyone else’s perception of what is going on. We all have our skewed view of life, especially since we have all had our sense of value screwed up by imperfect childhoods and bad experiences and rejection, but I am attempting to learn to see things as they really are. The value that God places on people and the characteristics that he looks for in people, myself included – those are the things I want to place a high priority on as well. And I want to be able to recognize the truth and speak it at all times. There is power is a truthful word, and all our socially acceptable avoidance of saying what we mean, our reluctance to say something that will make us or another person vulnerable, is a crippling impotency that I am not willing to live with.


To my best friend and confidant…I can hardly believe the profoundness of your love for me - you always exceed my expectations.
To my husband…I love you and need you in my life - you are a good friend and provider and protector of all things important.
To my immediate family…Thank you for your continued generosity and acceptance. I respect our differences and value our common affection for each other. We will always be family.
To my close friends…I like you because you have let me come close to you and in turn involved yourselves in my life and made me feel important and special. You are kind and funny and smart and present and most enjoyably different than I am. Thank you for accepting me and challenging me and not drifting away.
To myself…I am beautiful and have a big heart. I like to learn new things and go on adventures. I am spontaneous and thoughtful and sometimes na├»ve, but always want to do the right thing and will cry when I get it wrong. I will also sometimes cry when I get it right, so don’t be confused. I love deeply and am often afraid to show it, but I’m working on that, so help me God.
To you…go and tell the truth to someone you care about.


Little fish said…
It's wonderful that you are admitting all of that. It's very hard, at least, it would be for me. To actually admit that we need love, not only to ourselves, but to others, that shows a lot of strength.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Happy new year !-!

Popular posts from this blog

fun with hermeneutics

I am a reader. The stacks of books in my bedroom, living room, and office, many of them still waiting to be cracked open, testify to this fact. I love to read, but I also know that not all reading is the same. Some is more work and some is more pleasure. A light work of fiction requires little of me but to engage my imagination and be carried away by the story. Online reading requires a bit (or a lot) of discernment to make sure the sources are reliable and the facts check out. Academic reading requires me to reason through the arguments being made and connect them to what I already know or have read in the field. Reading an ancient text requires that I suspend my 21st century perspective as best I can and learn a bit about the worldview and language of the time. Acknowledging a text's context, intent, and genre enables me to hear the words and ideas in such a way that my view of history and the world are enlarged.

Reading, interpreting, and understanding the Bible are important …

stained and broken

Recently, I was asked to speak at another church, and the passage of Scripture which was assigned to me was John 1:6-8. "There came a man commissioned and sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe [in Christ, the Light] through him. John was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light." (John 1:6-8, Amplified Bible)

The first question I usually ask when reading something in the Bible is this: What does this tell me about God? Two things are immediately obvious - God is a sending God and God wants to communicate - but there is a third which merits a bit more attention. Though God could communicate directly with humanity, sending truth and love to every individual via some divine mind-and-heart-meld, God chooses to send messengers. Not only that, instead of introducing Jesus directly to the world as the main event, an opening, warm-up act appears as a precursor. What is the point of incorporati…

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…