I experienced an exposure of sorts, recently. It was one of those times were the light was turned on me (not so much a spotlight but more of a headlight), and in its brightness much was revealed. What I saw wasn’t all pretty, and I sort of went into hiding. I was wounded and felt like the only way to protect the wound was to remain isolated.
Like the turtle in its shell, I huddled in the shadows, needing to be coaxed out.
The morning started out comfortably crazy. I hurried to get lunches packed, homework checked, and the kids out the door so that we could arrive at school at a reasonable time. All well in the scope of normal.
Not wanting the children’s arrival to move from reasonably to ridiculous, (people who are chronically late such as I have a method of ranking late arrivals moving from fashionably late, to reasonably late, to ridiculously late) I sacrificially left my hair and makeup undone.
I waved goodbye to the kids and then immediately began the mental rundown of all that needed to be accomplished through the course of the day. It was quickly apparent that ingredients for supper needed to be picked up now or never. I quickly glanced at myself in the rear-view mirror and grimaced. What I saw definitely indicated it would be better to just point the mini-van toward home.
Desperation won out, however, and I reasoned that on a grey morning such as this, nobody would really notice me. I had a black hoodie I could pull up, and my sunglasses would stay firmly in place. I would be like a shadow, slipping down the grocery aisles.
I parked close to the cart return, and raced my cart through the rain towards the store. Yes, I probably looked a little silly/scary, but I kept reassuring myself I would be little more than a black blur. Anonymous. Unseen.
I whipped through the sliding glass doors in stealth mode. Intent on rushing through my list.
All of a sudden, the wheels on my shopping cart locked and I was thrown into the handle just as a high pitched siren split the air. Desperate not to make a scene, I tried to drag my shrieking cart away from the doors, but it wouldn’t budge. A small crowd started to gather, just as the store manager began running in my direction shouting for me to stay where I was.
At this point, it was safe to say my cover was blown.
The manager quickly unlocked my cart and silenced the alarm, explaining that the cart must not have been reset from the night before. The crowd soon saw that though I looked shady, I posed no threat to them, and went about their business. Realizing that my attempt to stay under the radar had been futile, so pulled my hood down, took off my sunglasses and finished getting my groceries.
The turtle was out of its shell.
I have different responses to my mess. Sometimes I celebrate it; flaunt it; make much of it without seeing its ugliness. Other times I hide it. Push it back into the shadows; cover it up, pretend it’s not there. Neither of these responses are super productive in the long run.
Sometimes I push my mess towards the Light and let Light do its work.
Jesus spoke to them, saying,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.