Tuesday, 22 January 2008


I find it amazing that we live in community - in couples, in families, in workplaces, in clubs and social groups, in churches - and yet we still do not really know each other. Of course, because of proximity we know some better than others yet there are still huge parts of us which remain hidden.

Nothing 'wrong' with that. Each of us is our own person. Yet there is huge benefit to be gained from opening up to someone else, sharing ourselves and learning from each other.

It's very easy NOT to do that. To keep the mask on, to share only what we want to and keep hidden things well hidden. Many have written about the benefits of being open, yet we still don't do it. It's not ideal.

I have colleagues I can trust. I go to church most Sundays. I have a small group of friends who I meet with weekly to share joys and sorrows, difficulties and dilemmas with. I meet with one particular friend to chat with and share concerns. Often, when I talk about situations and circumstances, I see my actions in a new light as these friends gently give me another point of view. I hope I learn from them, changing my behaviour and attitudes when necessary.

Yet I know too well that I permit them to do this only as much as I am open with them. And it is frighteningly easy to keep things hidden. Yet there is no escaping God, and so, most of the time, I try not to. The Bible says, in the first book of Corinthians: "...he (Jesus) will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of—inner motives and purposes and prayers."

Yet that's only the small group and a few trusted friends. I am uncomfortably aware that to others in our church I look 'sorted'. (I won't explain the reasons why.)

I'm not 'sorted'. Yes,many things about my life are very good, and I am very thankful for them. Yet I too struggle inwardly, as so many of us, if we are honest with ourselves, do. Sometimes life is easy and everything goes smoothly. Sometimes it doesn't. Then we find ourselves looking around at a world which seems to proclaim that no one has problems - except us.

I would like to stand up and say: "Don't believe what you see. Don't have misconceptions about me. Don't think I'm okay, when you are struggling. Take heart. We all have difficulties. You are not alone..."