What's the standard answer to the question: "How are you?" That we seem to ask one another constantly.
"I am fine." Right?
But are we always fine? Are we always full of good news with a smile on our face? No. I don't think so.
A resounding theme I think of this blog is that of authenticity.
I want to figure out how to live my life with as much honesty as I can. (And so I write . . . )
I want to figure out how to live with others with as much honesty that I can. (And so I invite you to read and join in the conversation . . .)
Teachers of authenticity can be found anywhere, I think. Even on top 40 radio.
I've found myself hitting the repeat button to a song called "Bruises" a duet between Train and Ashley Monroe from the Album California 37 released last year. The framework of the song is a dialogue between two people who haven't seen each other in 10 years-- a typical event for many of us throughout our lives.
In the mix of their catching up in the song, the two learn that life had been hard to both of them (divorces, job failures and more) and there is no need to pretend that they are happier than they are. In the end, this is the chorus that rings through:
These bruises make for better conversation
Loses the vibe that separates
It's good to let you in again
You're not alone in how you've been
We all got bruises
We all got bruises
I would love to fix it all for you
(I would love to fix you too)
Please don't fix a thing whatever you do
And I love its message of authenticity.
We all can so easily put a front. It's easier. We can all pretend. It's less vulnerable. We want to think that we're as put together as the next person.
Yet, is this what the best parts of this journey called life are about? In my experience, no.
But those who ARE willing to talk about "the not so put together parts" of their lives can often feel isolated real fast. Why? Because in self-revelation, a community of those who believe in "I'm fine-ness" are invited to leave their comfort spaces.
Such is not true of course. We are all wounded in some way. We all have memories from our past and experiences of our present that rub us in painful ways. We all have nights when we can't sleep because the deep troubles of this world seek to take from us peace.
And the people who are willing to admit such are those I want to know more of in my life.
Because isn't it true that when you're with someone who doesn't claim to have it all together that you feel comfortable doing the same?
I know we can't live our lives to the fullest without allowing for authenticity. It's good for me. It's good for you. We've ALL got bruises.