The roof above me glistens as the light makes its way through the stained glass. I always notice something new each time I find myself sitting in the hard, wooden pew: the way the lines intersect above me, the way the golden tiles shimmer behind the cross at the altar. Hours earlier she’d asked me what it meant for me to rest. Bowls of steaming soup between us, she’d asked, “What does rest look like to you?
After a moment, I tell her I am afraid. Afraid of the silence that rest often brings.
And as I stare at that ceiling, whispering a few words up above, I ask Him: “It always comes back to a fear of being known, doesn’t it?”
A fear of being seen. It was what Adam and Eve feared that day in the Garden; it is what I fear and yet long for the most. To be seen, remembered, known.
How is it that our greatest fear can also be our greatest longing?
I am convinced – that the longing for love and to be known – may also be what we fear the most.
Because we tend to build up walls, and push others away, and put on our masks – and yet all the while we are hoping that One will climb the walls,
pull us back,
and peel off the mask.
We fear and yet hope simultaneously. Why do we give so much voice to fear, and yet hold so loosely to hope?
CS Lewis writes in the Four Loves that to love at all is to be vulnerable. To be seen may require heartbreak. And if you want to, you can bury yourself in the coffin of your selfishness –
because that is what living in fear does.
When we are convinced that we need to protect ourselves from being seen we actually rob others of experiencing love through us.
(Does that not shake you to the core?) Being seen was never meant to stop at us. It opens our eyes to see others, to hold others, to love others.
And if we protect ourselves from being seen,
from being vulnerable,
from being loved,
in our need to protect (our self) we hurt ourselves and those around us.
I hear the echoing Voice of the One who asked Adam and Eve so long ago where they were. Fearful, perhaps – but I emerge out of the coffin, dusty and withered, and in a shaky voice I answer:
“Here I am.”