Friday, March 15, 2013

Sheer Curtains

I have an ivory, sheer curtain in my bedroom. In the morning, since the window faces east, the sun will shine through the curtain & fill the whole room with bright, warm light. I can see the circular sun outlined. But most everything else is just kind of a blurry mess. It's beautiful really. In the middle of the afternoon, when the sun is on the opposite side of the house, I open this curtain so that more clear light comes in. Suddenly I can see every blurry object so very clearly & it's much less beautiful.

The curtain is translucent, meaning you can only see a general shape or color of the object on the other side. If it were transparent, I would be able to see every object clearly, just as I can through the window. When I want privacy, I pull the thicker curtains closed - they are solid and nothing is coming through them!

Christians are often encouraged to be transparent. In other words, those that identify themselves as such should be people who can be seen through, assuming that God will be visible on the other side.

I wonder, is transparent really what we would choose to be? Isn't translucent a better word for what we would choose? Do we really want people to see through us, or even see who we are for real?

Here's a better question - do we really want to see who other people really are? Do we really want to see them and their stuff, or would we rather see only a vague, general sense of who they are?

I think that we want our life and the lives of others to be more like that sheer curtain. We want to see the beautiful warm light. Even worse, we pretend that that's what we see or that's what we put on display.

"How are you today?" - "Fine." - "Great!" - End of conversation. "How can I pray for you?" - "Oh, just pray that God will continue to bless us." - "Sure." - End of conversation.

What if we asked expecting a real answer? What if we really answered? What if the conversation went like this - "How are you?" - "Kind of bummed. I was really hoping for something and it didn't work out." - "I'm sorry to hear that. I'll be praying that God bring some encouragement into your day. How about a cup of coffee on me?" - "Thanks!"

I think that the really real reality of life is that we want to believe there are people who have it all together, that everything works for, so we can feel hopeful about our own lives. I think we don't really want to answer questions in a real way, because we don't want anyone else to think WE don't have it all together.

I think we like living translucent lives and having translucent relationships. I think that we don't really want to deal with real, because real is hard, painful, tough, requires time, requires understanding, requires us to actually be LIKE Christ. We might have to DO something beyond pretending, beyond the sheer curtains.

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