A cold summer morning at the edge of the pool somewhere up north. Swimming lessons at 8:15. The pool filled with glacier run off, and hasn't yet had enough hot summer days to warm up.
Do you ease in slowly, only enduring a small amount of pain at a time, but drag it out? Or do you take the plunge?
Remember the friend I was not completely sure about? Insecure. Not knowing what she meant. Do I really risk being open with her when I don't know how she will react?
Another risk faced me recently. A room full of women I had not met before. We met to learn from each other how to best minister to women. All of us from different places, different countries.
How much do I risk? Do I watch carefully, testing slowly to see if I can trust? Or do I just take the plunge?
I used to leap wildly into the water when I was a skinny ten year old kid. Now, I am much more of an "easer-slowly-in". My kids watch this process laughing. "Mom, just jump in and get it over with! It is not that cold once you're all wet."
I know they are right, but brrr!
I took the risk with my friend. Decided to just tell myself to assume the best, and go ahead and trust her.
I faced the room full of women. I was asked to share my life. What do I share? My carefully constructed nice life? Or who I am with all my failures, history that is definitely not beautiful, and my current struggles? Really the shape I am in now, some will argue that I ought to be kicked off the field, not reaching out more. What do I share?
But over the last few years, my attention has been caught by something. Someone has shown this to me and it is beautiful. It attracts more than light does to mosquitoes. Transparency. The ability to be open with others. As I have watched and learn to walk this way little by little, it has changed me. The beautifully constructed nice lives do not appeal to me anymore. They are a shallow beauty, much like a painting, compared to the real.
Yes, realness means there are shadows in life, but shadows do not take away the beauty. They add depth.
So I stood on the edge of my cold pool, and jumped. This is who I am.
Something else about transparency - it is refreshing, much like that cold swimming pool at 8:15.
What happened? That is a different story. But a good one.