Stuff and Vulnerability

Once upon a time, I had a friend. He was a man that I spent quite a bit of time with. I thought it might lead to dating, but it never did. I had the courage to ask him later why.  “You didn’t let me help you organize your closet,” he said.

Yes, I am the sort of person who has a lot of trouble figuring out where to put “stuff.”  He is the sort of person who gets it. I needed his help. But I wouldn’t let him in.

I have had close friendships since where I did let someone in to help me organize. That was scary. One friend went through all the stuff with me, and for that I am eternally grateful.  Another friend helped me back when I was coming home from graduate school. I didn’t know what items should be packed with what other items, and she went along making piles… this goes with this goes with this… and so fast! I was amazed.

In those experiences our friendship grew stronger.  We can’t be close to anyone without vulnerability. And that is scary.  It is scary to be vulnerable. It takes time to do it in a healthy way, but still, for a relationship to survive, it must be done. Nothing will thrive forever if one is hiding who they are. We don’t have to (and shouldn’t) tell everyone everything, but the nature of disclosure should match the type of relationship.  The level of trust should match the level of closeness. Otherwise it won’t survive.

That means that we also need to make ourselves trustworthy.  Do we “help” our friends, children, and significant others, trying to jump to quick solutions that make them feel like a burden not worthy of our time?  Do we let them know that their feelings are valid, and together work out a solution after they know they are not crazy?  Are we giving little hints that someone is not good enough? Are we making controlling statements without realizing it, or are we letting them be who they are?

If anyone reads “Sacred Space” from the Irish Jesuits (They are good. Trust me), you will see that their reading for this week is that Jesus shows by the fact that he reaches out to prostitutes and the people on the margins of society, that he loves people where they are at. This trying to be perfect thing is useless, though he can take us through healing and guidance to the best version of ourselves eventually. Still, this trying to be perfect thing is doesn’t get us there. He loves us in our brokenness.

Can we love each other and let ourselves be loved in our brokenness and imperfections? Real relationships that are beautiful and lifegiving will flow from this.

May your day be blessed.


Traffic Court

Last wconfused-147435_640eek I went to traffic court. Why? Well I hadn’t seen a speed sign when it went from 45 to 30 and I was photographed and ticketed. Oh Sadness.

I figured it would take me about an hour and a half at most, and I could return to work. So there I went, showing up at my appointed time, sitting down and then, something amazing happened. We were enveloped in some sort of time vortex. Everything in that courtroom slowed down: the judge’s pauses in between words, her ruffling through papers, all slowed down by seventy percent at least. When each person was called up, they spoke as slowly as a shy toddler, using every extra word that can be imagined. I’d never seen such a thing.

First came a teenager. I don’t remember what he said, but the ceiling fans were interesting.

Then came a worker.

“My ticket is in the name of Jabba the Hut,”

“Are you the one who was driving?”

“In a way I was, but in a way it was Jabba’s car.”

Would you like Jabba to pay the ticket or you?”

Ummm. Yeah … so … But I don’t want Jabba to get in trouble. And … well … I don’t want to ruin the good name of … you know … Jabba.”

“Would you like Jabba to pay the ticket or you?”

“ Yet … it was Jabba’s car. And it didn’t … well … work correctly. I have proof.” Rustle. Rustle. Rustle.

“Would you like Jabba to pay the ticket, or you?”

“… which is why I was speeding.”

Then came a man with fifty papers to prove something or other. I watched as the judge went through them all. “Do you have the form 50 for the Citation Gobbled?”

“Yes your honor. And I have theZorflex for the Caranga.”

“ I don’t need that one. But I’ll take the Foofle 21 with the Snorz XY.”

“I’ll give you that and raise you a XZ557391810.”

When I woke up, we were already on the very next person.

“I was driving. I am a good driver. There was a pizza box in the road. I swerved like a good driver but didn’t leave my lane.”

“Is that when you sped?”

“No, not at all.”

“Then I saw that a lane was closing. I made sure to leave my lane carefully to get into the continuing lane.”

“Is that when you sped?”

“No, not at all.”

“Then I saw a further lane change was necessary, but there were people behind me driving fast.”

“So you sped.”

“Of course not.”

“Can you get to the point?”

Blanks stare.

“And then  … and … babble babble babble, something about how the tires turned, babble babble. I didn’t want to bother the people in back of me … babble babble.”

At this point I was watching the officer who seemed very tough but I was wondering if the officer was actually tough and what her life story might be. I bet it was an interesting life story. Or not.

“… And I have perfect driving record.”

“Next …”

Another young man who had several violations said some things which probably made sense … And then a young woman came to the stand.

“Ah, now I see you were asked to go to do road crew work while you had several drivers speed past so you would learn what it felt like to fear for your life.”

“Yes, your honor.”

“Did you do this?”

“Yes your honor.”

“That’s interesting because the road crew chief is my cousin who never saw you. And I get the constant camera feed from his Go Slo.” (Ah! This explains the vortex!)

“Well actually I went to the sit down class because that is what the clerk downstairs ordered me to do.”

“Do you know you’ll be sent to jail for lying?”

“Yes, Your honor.”

“Did the clerk order you to the sit-down class?”

“Yes, as I said, your honor.”

“Officer, can you bring me a copy of the orders?”

Officer gets the orders and another paper.

“Hmm. I see here, in carbon copy, that you were ordered to go to this road crew. And I have it in your handwriting that you checked in the road crew. But no one saw you there.”

“That is because I thought I was supposed to go to the other road crew. Where I went. 17th and Sfew Street.”

“That’s a brewery. I thought you said you went to the sit down class.”

“Yes your honor.”

“ And what is the penalty for lying?”

“Umm .. in carcinogen?”

“Please stay here and await your arrest.”

“But I sat down for the beer …”

I realized after five hours, or perhaps one, that she wasn’t reducing ticket prices and so I left, went downstairs, and paid. Somehow, though it was slightly embarrassing, I braved the many eyes of crowd focused most likely on all my bright colors,  and I walked out. I made the choice not to waste time for no reason. It felt good.

May God bless your day.