I seriously love blogs–as a writer and as a reader. I’ve recently added Nathania Johnson’s blog to my feed reader. She’s a fellow web writer and introvert, so her writing really resonates with me.
As kids, we learn “friendly” is good; so “shy” must be bad. Some of us learn “honest” is good and decide “tactful” is bad. Part of becoming a real live grown up is understanding that life is less binary than we imagined as children. We need both connectedness with others, and a separate sense of self. We learn that both honesty and tact are valuable.
We decide that we need to work on developing proper “balance.” For me, balance brings up images of perfection: gymnasts on a beam, and a very tiny margin of error. I like the term “tension” a little better. Tension implies that both sides are pulling at you. It also implies a little discomfort (which I think is realistic and honest).
In our relationships, there will always be a certain degree of tension between mystery and transparency. I’ve seen the damage that dishonesty can wreak in relationships. Transparency, openness and honesty are very important to me. I want both the freedom to be transparent and honest about who and how I am; and the assurance that the people I’m in relationship with will be open and honest with me. But to a certain degree, other people will always hold an element of mystery. And as much as I enjoy sharing my innermost thoughts with folks, I also need to retain a bit of my own mystery (and privacy).
At this moment, I’m eating a pear, and I’m reminded of the scene from City of Angels where Nicholas Cage asks Meg Ryan what a pear tastes like. “Don’t you know what a pear tastes like?” she asks him. “I want to know what it tastes like to you,” he replies. Yes, it’s a little cheesy. But it does speak to a deeper truth. We’re each walking through our own unique experience of this world, and an experience as basic and elemental as eating a piece of fruit can be wildly different for each of us. No matter how well we think we know someone, in large part other people are unknowable. It’s one way we bear the image of God. You can spend your whole life getting to know him, you can trace the borders of what you know beyond all doubting is true about Him, and He’s still a great vast mystery.
But God, and other people, are a mystery worth exploring anyway.