Harry, our dog, refused to go out and "do his duty" this morning because it is pouring rain. He will not go out when the elements are hostile.
"This dog wouldn't make it a day, if he were lost in the woods," my husband said with a sigh this morning, looking at Harry curled up, asleep, on the couch. You would think there would be a bit of embarrassment Bill would feel about his other "son" being so ....weak.
Yet we all fawn over that dog, cuddling him, trying to get a little attention from him- if we can wake him up from one of his many needed naps. Last night, Bill was cuddling with him on our bed. I was at my desk in our room, and therefore Harry was right behind me. He has to be as close to me as possible. Bill tried to get Harry to give him a little lick, a glance, anything- but instead, Harry moves closer to the end of the bed, next to the desk where I am.
"He's in love with you", Bill said in a resigned voice. "I can't get him to pay attention to me."
Even when Harry flops on the chair in the living room, his paws hanging over the edge of the chair and touching the ground, he will direct his gaze at me- though you can't tell if he's looking at me or if he's asleep, since his eyes are hidden behind that blond mop.
I do feel adored by my dog, but I have to tell you- it doesn't do that much for my self esteem. Harry is not at all discerning of my weaknesses and my failings. He adores me simply because I am with him, most of the day, and I make him feel secure. Its a basic instinct we all have.
I'm trying to get through a new book, called Dealing with the Crazy Makers in Your Life by Dr. David Hawkins. I don't care for the title, and it's not the kind of book that you read eagerly and with a smile on your face. But I am gleaning some nuggets out of it that reinforce some things I have been thinking about lately.
This blogging thing has brought up an issue for me to deal with. The issue is self-revelation. The question I have is: how much do I want to reveal of myself, and why would I reveal certain things? I've already written about coming out of obscurity in my post, Queen of Anonymity No More (8/21). And I have come out of obscurity and into the blogging world. In a sense, I have self-published.
Now the question is, how far will I take this journey? In the last month, I have had increasing e-mails, conversations, and private messages from various people who are "opening up" to me because I have opened myself up to the world at large, so to speak. They don't write to me because I have it all together, and have proclaimed the Seven Steps to a Perfect Life. They write because I have questioned out loud on my dark days, shared painful moments from my past, and opened up about my hopes and dreams. What encourages people is not when we share our strengths, but usually when we share where we are weak.
Just as with Harry, people want to be near you, often, not because you have answers but because your imperfect reality is there for them to see, and they feel "safe" with you. But for them to feel "safe" I have to live a bit dangerously. Every time I share more of myself, I am more open to the world. I am "known" by those who "read me" yet I may have days where I struggle with confusion over who I really am.
How much honesty is helpful and how much privacy do we need to retain to be healthy? One thing I do know, while honesty is the best policy, it still creates problems. One problem is that as you know me, I will feel the weight of wanting to manage my image, how I come across.
Dr. Hawkins writes, "...except for certain special circumstances-such as when to do so would be harmful- total honesty is the best policy. This means not only telling the truth but also refraining from trying to manage others' perception of me by exaggerating personal strengths and minimizing personal weaknesses. If someone wants to really know me, he or she must be strong enough to know my many foibles. Anything less erodes the integrity of our relationship"
Now I don't know how strong you are. Are you strong enough to handle the depth of my failings in heart and attitude? My resentments that can build up, my fears, or my anger? And then I would have to ask myself, can I handle your weaknesses? From a distance, we seem to be able to extend compassion and empathy. But when someone we are in relationship with is "weak", falls down, looks "bad"- can we handle the truth of who they are?
Who could possibly be strong enough to know our weaknesses and failings- and yet not turn away, nor even flinch at the sight of them? Well, I know His Name.
And that's what I cry out every time I not only see Him, but every time He sees me- really sees me for who I am, and who I could be...