So now that we have a working definition of love lets talk about how honesty has contributed to that reality for me.
Our belief as broken people is that others won’t love us if they knew how messed up we are. Within that belief is an assumption that we are messed up and they are not which I think we all know is not true. In one way or another we are all broken. And if we will allow it, this could be the common thread that binds us.
My issue is lust, yours is anger or worry or fear or drinking. But at the root of it all is the same problem, we are hurting and we are alone. So maybe if we stopped being alone and started hurting together we could overcome our brokenness. This is the idea of support groups, that we are stronger together, and from 6 years of personal recovery experience I can tell you, it’s absolutely true!
So being loved is not merely connected to being honest, but it’s dependent on being honest. I have found love in sharing my brokenness with my wife, my family, and my friends. Not because they are perfect and feel sorry for me, but because they are broken too and we get to encourage one another past our fears and failures into the dreams God has put in us.
So to walk you through an example I have been through let me tell you a little about my wife Katie. I met her not long after I got out of rehab and was very intentional to always present my truest self and taking the risk was absolutely worth it. We’ve been married for a little over four years. She has ambitions of being a marriage and family therapist and is currently in grad school chasing that dream. I often tell people that I was her first client and that because she did such a great job with me, she decided to make a career out of it. I want to be a communicator and a writer who uses the story I have lived to help people out of their own bondage. We are two people with huge dreams and I love the about us,However, we are also two people with big obstacles.
Katie is a worrier and I am a quitter. She wonders if she has what it takes or if she is making the right decisions. She worries about finances and debt and workload. I am scattered at times and lack the focus that is required for finishing. You want a huge project planned and started, then I’m your guy. I’m a visionary with narcolepsy. Sometimes, when life kicks me in the dreams, I just want to find a grandeur vision of a greener pasture. So we are imperfect people with perfect dreams and if we are going to accomplish any of it, we need one another.
A lot of our conversations consist of expressing our fears to one another and pushing each other to face them and work through them. Katie will recount her day and all her concerns about her interactions with clients and what she said or didn’t say and I get to remind her that she is amazing at what she does and that she is an intern for a reason, to learn. I will vent to her about writing and my inability to think of something to write and my fear that I’m going to fail and my desire to just quit now and save face and she will tell me that I’m smart and and talented and help me to trust in God to show me what’s next.
It is a mutual love which is based on mutual messiness. Over and over we expose our insecure selves to one another and we find strength. Over and over we come, bearing our deepest fears and find solace in one another. This is what love looks like. Is their romance, sure. Is there passion, of course. But more often than not it’s simply the daily task of propping one another back up when life knocks us each down.
I used my wife in this example but I am fortunate to have a few people in life who I share this kind of intimacy and honesty with. I’ve learned along this journey that honesty has a drawing effect on people, and the good ones will join in. You wanna be loved, than take the risk to be yourself and let the chips fall where they may.