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Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Nothing exhausts me more than the lack of authenticity. Living by appearances. Having all the answers. Summing up the failures of others by pointing out what went wrong when and how. It must be simple living to go with that mentality. Maybe then your heart doesn't break when someone's kid gets pregnant, or drunk, or high, or cuts at their own skin. It's simple to drum up a bit of a tsk, tsk, and then figure they had it coming because they did this or didn't do that, or followed entirely the wrong parenting philosophy. Or didn't say the right prayer at the right time.

Must be tidy not to get your hands dirty or your heart ripped out, or only-give-to-the-church so that your formula can remain intact and you don't have to be responsible for whether or not that whatever you gave away will be misused, wasted, squandered, or be unworthy of a tax receipt.

Must be exhausting to sweep things underneath the carpet. Keep careful track of what's been swept, what needs to stay there, what never-to-say. Not engage in dangerous dialogue in which differences of opinion may exist or people may be challenged in their ways of thinking.

Must be comfortable to live such a homogenous existence.

Must be tidy to look after your own appearances. Never make yourself vulnerable to others' judgements by simply staying insular. Private. Stoic.

Say the right words or say nothing at all. Make your children mind. Leave the controversial for the sloppy and the worldly. Talk about nothing.

I wonder what would happen if people woke up. If they worked less on the right answers and more on putting what they apparently know into actual actions. Made eye contact. Let their eyes be the window to the soul. Lay it out. Cry a little.

Protect themselves less.


Valerie Ruth said...

vulnerable is a scary place to be. critical and defensive seems so much easier. but then, when your heart breaks and your world turns upside down and you learn the hard way not to judge, you end up lonely and afraid.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I mean...amen : ) L-lew

joyce said...

oh darn, L-lew. I was just thinking judgemental thoughts about how much better your spelling would be if you had done your homework in grade two like a good, obedient child.

I kind of like
like they said in the olden days...

VR- one would hope that when that critical person came to their own place of need; others would rally to the task. Show a different way of living. Give grace to the ungracious.

which is.... by the way... the most brutally hard thing to do. I practise it regularly in my mind. I review it, study it, get convinced of it. Then people piss me off with their teeny tiny minds and I just become satirical.

Not very gracious.
Much tidier to talk about grace than to do it...

Anonymous said...

Are we not supposed to judge others.........I don't think anyone lives in a perfect world and if they think they do, they are very sadly mistaken......MK

bria erskine said...

Hey Joyce, you have hit a very painful and tender spot in my heart. Without saying too much, my husband and myself went through a heart wrenching time in Niverville in which we ended up leaving the community. It was interesting to see who gave grace, who withheld it, and who just had no idea what to do. It was interesting to see what people did when we became vulnerable, very vulnerable...some people ran away, some people backed away slowly and some people jumped right into our messy lives (in a good way). It's also interesting how, when you show your true colours and the fact that you're still human, people can start to view you as a somehow they are more 'christian' than you are. It's very interesting and I know exactly what you're talking about. It's also very nice to encounter people like you, even if it is through the blogging world.

joyce said...

thanks for sticking your neck out like that, Bria. Your comment about "becoming a project" is another kicker. Something I could also rant about. If one actually believes what one professes to believe.... WHY WOULD THERE BE ANY 'MINISTRY OPPURTUNITIES"?!! Would we not simply love our neighbours and actions flow from authenticity instead of this:


weird. voyeuristic. twisted.


Brenda Funk said...

Very well said Joyce!

Crystal said...

ah Joyce, it seems we are sharing the same brain these days. I have been feeling exactly this way for the last few years. I am also exhausted with people who refuse to be real. I will take real and flawed over fake & perfect any day.

If we would just treat humanity the way Jesus did, this world would be and infinitely better place. It's so simple, yet people JUST DON'T GET IT.

And to Bria, I never knew you but I'm sorry you went through what you did. I've also gone through some very tough stuff living in this small town, and have experienced much of the same with regards to people not knowing what to do or say, so they avoid doing or saying anything. They don't realize this indifference is the worst possible thing they can do. You will never go wrong by showing someone you care about them and a hug goes a long way. I hope you've found healing.

joyce said...

so much content here. Yesterday, in the quiet of driving , I thought about some of these comments. First Brenda- I don't take a compliment from you lightly. I remember well your reputation that even in the heat of a pretty legalistic church; you and your husband enriched the lives of my siblings with your authenticity. Real people who genuinely cared; is how I always heard you were with others.

Crystal, lately I've taken relief in the fact that Jesus got really ticked off about people as well. Especially religious people who loved to speak about what was RIGHT and who was WRONG. Such a clever waste of time.

I never really used to be afraid of "saying the wrong thing" but then in a very difficult, painful time, I did (inadvertently) say and do all of the entirely wrong things. Hugs that were grossly unwanted. Words that were meant to be honest landed up painful and cutting. Authenticity and flawed-but-real became rude and thoughtless and hurtful.
It would be so helpful if we could actually see the colours of one anothers hearts. Perception is extremely powerful.
Sometimes now I just say; "There's nothing helpful to say, but I won't say nothing".
Probably dangerous as well. But you know what? I think that even if people turn around and get evil and mad when we try to live out loud, it is still worth the risk. Hopefully we learn what not to do? Instead of shrivelling down and doing nothing.
Sometimes the trickier thing to do is try not to take it entirely personally. Recognize that often people's reactions are more indicative of their own pain or perceptions.
Sometimes people make life so painful. Yet.... What a drag without people!