I am learning to be more honest.
I am learning that the image we present to the world is the one we want people to believe. So we put our best foot forward and only post pictures on our facebook account that we want people to see. We delete the pictures that are less than favorable, and we highlight stories about our successes and our smiles and our norman rockwellness.
But that is not reality. The truth is, we all have pictures that make us shudder to look at. We all have a virtual trash bin of images that we keep hidden from the public eye. This image management allows the world to see only what we want them to see.
After the death of my friend Gina Carlin, I noticed that so many of her friends joined me in grieving her loss. We spoke in monotone regret-stained whispers, of her memory. We elevated her status to the point of sainthood, and bowed down her to deity. And as I caught myself in mid-conversation, the thought occurred to me that we have done her an injustice:
We do each other no favors by denying the brokenness that we all share.
I am not perfect. I take horrible pictures. Not every day is a full of walks in the woods with my wife, or swinging my daughters around at the beach. In reality, we argue at times – just like every couple I know. We yell at our “precious angels” for not obeying us immediately. We stress out over money. We avoid taking the trash out. We delete 95% of the pictures on the digital camera, and let people see the few that make us look better than we are.
But this is exactly where incarnation meets us; the Sacred collides with the common. It is in this very ordinary messiness, that humanity becomes holy. As we realize our imperfection it makes us weak in the knees – we bend to the One who extends the grace we need to keep going.
And when we are weak, then we our strong. When we realize our condition, and we are courageous enough to be honest about our brokenness, then the message of the cross takes on a deeper conviction to be lived out.
So we stumble and fall, we falter and rage, we deny and curse. But one thing remains constant, a Jesus who waits for us to answer the question: “do you love me?”