I see your beautiful pictures online, as well as your cheerful messages.
Some of you are a good 20 years older than me, and you have mastered the art of filtering and editing pictures. You add lush eyelashes and pure skin, and my guess is that if we met in person, I might not even recognize you. But I’m telling you, you look beautiful, and since physical beauty is only skin deep, I’m sure you are truly beautiful in your heart anyway.
But as far as your selfie, it’s ok…. I use that brightening thing on my selfie picture, too. Hey, sunlight does us some favors! And I do love art, so it can be fun to alter a picture for artistic and interesting purposes…
I have seen your pristine living room pictures, clean shiny wood floors, and I know that in reality you may have two square feet of clean space and make it look good. Or maybe you actually have a perfectly clean house…. that is, if you’re single with no children or grandchildren. Or pets. Or you are someone who never sleeps. Or you have a maid… (ok, that one makes me slightly jealous 😉 )
It’s ok. I do it, too. I’m good at that cropping tool. There’s a cute baby or a cat, and they happen to be sitting on one square foot of straightened quilt. Beyond them is a stack of ruffled clean laundry that may one year get put away, bills I’m choosing to ignore, a half-opened bag of Kettle Chips (mmmm, that crunch…), and some items that some kid put on my bed because they didn’t know where else to put them.
I see your photos at the beach with family, smiling, and at church with family, smiling… and I chuckle. Our biggest arguments happen when we are either trying to get to a beach or a church. Sometimes, I stay for a few minutes out in the van after my husband goes inside the church with the children, just so that I can compose myself after that argument about who left the car lights on and killed the battery right before we were supposed to leave so that our boys could be early enough to altar serve. Or, we all walk in together, smiling at the friendly greeters like we are Golden Globe winners. We should be, with that kind of act.
And here I always promised to keep it real.
I was wonderfully challenged in a radio interview with Deal Hudson on “Church and Culture” about keeping it real, and a reminder that I always seem to have a similar profile picture. I love being challenged, especially when the person has a legitimate point!
Well, besides the fact that I rarely have a free second to actually dress up and take a selfie (that doesn’t include a dirty diaper or three children hanging on to me), it’s true that we like to put our best selves forward. I don’t believe that is always pride or vanity, but in our culture, the fake selfie complete with the fake froo froo love and success stories abound. I am sure that a handful of them are true. Like, two percent. The rest of us are bearing a cross, and we blur out what’s behind the scenes.
And so I thought I’d take moment to show you a real scene, to un-blur it, as it were, unedited, uncleaned, right in the middle of a raw moment in our family’s home on a typical Sunday evening; last night, in fact.
That’s my husband there, kneeling and praying, while I’m sort of aware (that’s right, folks, I’m usually in and out of devotional prayers and more likely tickling a baby!)… There’s a microscopic statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in front of a second TV…. A second TV? Yes, because the cable cord doesn’t reach the other one, and we meant to get that out of there, but whatever… And yes, that is Kylo Ren (that my son saved up all his money to buy me from Dollar General) up on the shelf next to a cardboard Christ the Bridegroom icon… That laundry IS clean, but it’s been sitting there for long enough we may want to wash it again… There’s a baby that’s just about ready to go to bed, there’s a teen doing his homework while praying (suuuuuure), our daughter who received her first Solemn Communion yesterday is praying, and there’s a sweet toddler trying to spell out everyone’s name in the family.
What are we praying for? Mainly, our struggling financial situation. People don’t typically like to talk about that subject either. Also, the kids decided that they would lovingly pray for Ellen DeGeneres. We also pray for healing in our extended family situations and for more chocolate.
This, my friends, is what our family prayer really looks like, if we can all even get to it before various children fall asleep (or I do.) It’s real, it’s messy, and today it was strained because we have real-life hardships and no answer other then: “this is all yours, Lord… we’re out of clever ideas except living in the moment.”
But I think there is more hope when we live authentically…. I mean, who are we really trying to impress? Oh, I easily fall into the same traps. But I’m here to tell you: I HAVE PROBLEMS. No, I don’t want to dwell on them ad nauseum. But I also want you to know that anyone with spouses and children, anyone single and longing for companionship, anyone struggling to find work or struggling with despair… ANYONE… EVERYONE: you don’t fool me. There are only so many filters any of us can put on life before is starts to seep out (Cue suggestion from a “life and health coach” about an inspirational book I should read about health and wealth…. actually, no thanks. The book of Job is working quite well for me right now. Ain’t NOTHIN’ Rich Dad can tell me anymore unless he as a check to write out to me. 😉 (Hey, should I send him my paypal link?)
Maybe you are in a stage where you are clinging to those motivational posters for dear life. I respect that you are there at this time in your life.
But when you have found a motivational poster who died for you, you may get my attention.
Those people on posters jumping from one cliff to another? Photoshopped.
But God is real. And if ANYone is going to cut and paste my life, it will be HIM.
Love and blessings,