Stepping into the crucible of relationship. The place where no one really wants to go. The place where the heat gets turned up so high that parts of you begin to melt away. Bill Bryson speaks of places in Australia that are so hot you begin to cook from the inside out. That is what it feels like sometimes to be in relationship--cooking from the inside out. I want to run. I want to hide. It hurts too much and yet I cannot turn away, because it is too important. It is not important in the sense that I must prove myself right or get a point across. It is important in the sense that it is the place God calls me to be. My role in life to step into the paradox. To be kind and to speak the truth. They don’t always appear to be the same.
Growing up as the "nice" girl, I was taught that being nice was the most important thing in the world—at least to someone’s face. Now as soon as they were gone you could speak the real truth. It was a pattern that left me reeling and off balance for most of my life. It reminds me of the discussions on mind reading and projection. How can we possibly know what someone else means or what they are thinking unless we ask them? But that is when the heat can turn up. Jumping into the crucible can mean you will get burned. It can also mean that something new and beautiful can emerge. The dross burned away. The gold allowed to shine through. It is a risk.
I made a commitment to myself many years ago that I would no longer live in the two-faced, hidden, “nice” world that keeps me and others off-balance from not really knowing the truth. And, yes, sometimes the truth hurts. But, don’t forget this one: The truth shall set you free.
Is freedom worth stepping into the heat? I believe it is.
photos by lucy 7.08