I’ve a got a good friend fooled.
He thinks better of me than I am.
He sees the gifts I have been blessed with, creativity, love of science and literature, a knack for stringing words together on glowing screens, and thinks I’m special.
He’s pretty special himself. He has a great passion for his family, for nature, for teaching children.
If he sees my flaws he keeps it to himself.
I think that is what I fear, that people will know what is really wrong with me. It is probably what most of us fear.
I fear the flaws which caused me to say and do things which alienated my wife’s affections. I fear revealing my sins will rob me of the affections of all who I would have love me.
Despite what my friend thinks, I am flawed. More flawed than he knows.
I suppose he is flawed as well, though I do not know what those flaws are.
Why are we so desperate to hide our true selves?
I think for several reasons.
First, we absolutely need to belong.
The other night Brenda and I went out to a movie, I Am Legend with Will Smith. It is a post-apocalypse tale. The protagonist, immune to a deadly virus, has lived three years with no other companion than his dog.
A part of the story deals with his reactions in coming in contact with other people. He is borderline insane from his isolation.
Tom Hanks also displayed the symptoms of isolation in the movie Cast Away. He created a friend out of a soccer ball.
I once spent over two months without speaking, or even seeing, another person. I read a lot, satisfying a curiosity about world faiths. When I left that cave on Saddleback Mountain I was terribly awkward with people. I had trouble making simple conversation.
Such isolation turns us a little odd, it can create Ted Kaczynski’s.
We need people. We need people for our mental health We need people to give us a place in the world, a place with others. Without others we start unravelling.
A second reason we are so desperate to hide our true selves is because of our egos. We start our lives having every need cared for by others. As we become more independent we secretly wish to remain the center of all things.
Could people really love us, really want to be near us, if they knew we weren’t perfect?
You have probably guessed, I’m headed toward the point about how we question God’s love.
I’d like to take it a little further.
Imagine if we were perfect.
Imagine if we never sinned, never had dark secrets to keep from each other, from ourselves.
Our lives wouldn’t be the mess they are. We wouldn’t worry if people loved us or not. We would love everyone, never hurt them, never betray them, and they do be the same.
Sounds pretty nice.
Sounds like Heaven.
Sounds like the way God must feel.
His perspective must come from the absolute knowledge, the absolute experience, the absolute being that is thoroughly good.
If we were like that... if we were without sin, without the sense of failure and sorrow, we would be able to love so much more deeply. I would guess that if I were like that I would be able to see the goodness in souls which wanted to be different than they are, which longed to be free of sin. It wouldn’t be an affection for them out of pity, either. I would love them because I saw in their heart the desire to become better, to become pure. It would be a love for them simply because love is the center of being perfect.
I look at my life, at my failings, at the things I am which make me think that I am fooling my good friend, and I know that there is someone who does know all those things about me, and loves me anyway.
He loves me because that is who He is.
He loves me because he sees in me the spark of our soul, the part of me that is made in His image, which wants to love and be loved, and simple be love.
I’m a screwed up mess. But I am loved by perfection which stretches throughout time, beyond time, beyond the realm of physical matter, and simply wants me to stop hurting, to stop beating myself up, to simply pause and experience a little of what He feels for me.