I'm as guilty as the next person when it comes to selectively sharing more "highs" than "lows" via Facebook. In fact, the day after we had this conversation and I vowed to be more transparent with my posts, I posted the following status update without thinking:
Listening to the new Patty Griffin album (thanks to Jason Gerig), putting up mint leaves picked from our herb garden, and planning what to do with all the beautiful swiss chard I picked today for supper....I'm in a sweet spot y'all. Life is good.
Now, it was true, life really was good. Patty Griffin rocks my world and our fresh mint and swiss chard was quite lovely. But just a few minutes after I posted this, the conversation from the day before came back to me and for at least ten minutes I debated whether I should add a disclaimer to my post, something along the lines of "life is good right now but I have plenty of areas of brokenness--I worry about nothing and everything all at the same time; I think too much; I have a huge pimple on my chin and my right ankle kind of hurts from my jog earlier today." Ultimately, I didn't add the addendum but I wondered if I should. Would it have somehow been more honest?
So now I find myself with a question: how do we wear our brokenness?
I know brokenness is a dangerous word theologically and I'm not using it to refer to any type of inherent wrong within us, I don't think we are inherently flawed. We are not inherently broken. No, I'm using the term to refer to the "stuff" of life--the heart breaks and the failures, the awkward conversations, fights between spouses, mistakes at work, and the list could go on forever. How do we wear this? How do we share it? How do we have real conversations that involve both our highs and our lows, our places of great joy and our spaces of real sadness?
In another conversation with a new friend just a few days ago, I was asked how open I was in friendships--how much did I share? Did I allow folks to see the hard, rough spots as well as the beautiful, joyful patches or did I "protect" my "lows" and hide them as somehow secret? Essentially, he was asking me, how do you wear your brokenness? I wasn't able to answer the question well in the moment but I know how I would like to answer it someday. Someday, I'd like to be able to say, I wear my brokenness proudly, boldly and courageously. I share the highs and the lows with those I love. I am my whole self--good day self and crappy day self, best self and worst self--all the time.
I'm not there yet but I think it's an important thing to strive for if we want to be in authentic, meaningful relationship with those around us.