The Hiding Place

4 Mar

I’ve always been a notorious and skillful hider.

When I was 12 I learned to hide my self-perceived  physical flaws with makeup.

When I was 15 I learned how to hide my feelings from my mother so that she wouldn’t worry.

When I was 17 I learned how to hide school loans from my dad so that I could go to college.

When I was 21 I learned how to hide from myself with cheap alcohol and even cheaper cigarettes. And of course I learned how to hide both the alcohol and the cigarettes from friends, family, employers, and professors.

Those are probably my landmarks as far as acquiring new hiding skills goes. I’m still hiding all of those things.

I don’t know why, but I don’t know how not to hide. And the thing is, it’s a horrible cycle. I hide things because I’m afraid of upsetting or bothering others. Then when I can’t hide those things anymore the people I was protecting get upset either because of the thing itself or because I hid the thing from them or both. And then I hide even more things because those people got upset the first time so why shouldn’t I hide this new thing that seems even more horrible compared to the things I’ve hidden before?

I feel sick when I think about all this. I hide everything important and the truth of the matter is this: all those things I’m hiding are lies of omission. Why can’t I just be honest for once? Why can’t I have the courage to speak the truth and not fear the repercussions of admitting to those I love that I am not the person I’ve worked so hard to convince them that I am?

I will say though…God in His mercy gave me a very patient, understanding, gracious, loving husband-to-be. One of the first things I told S was that I hide things. And that I know how dangerous and relationship-damaging that hiding is. He has worked with me a lot on not keeping things from him.

And it’s so freeing! I look at this man and I can say whatever I want. There’s a lot to be said for someone who loves me even after I’ve borne my naked soul to him. And not only does he love me…he doesn’t get upset and he continues to encourage me.

I want all my relationships to mirror the honesty and openness I have with S.

I used to feel that same sort of openness with God, but something happened and I don’t have it anymore. It’s like instead I have a strange mixture of mistrust mixed with fear mixed with anger mixed with regret. I don’t like the feeling. Maybe this Lent I’ll have the chance to purge myself of it.

 

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