Honesty is such a good policy.
I have been really blessed the past few weeks to be among a great group of women taking a parenting class at Marist offered by the counseling department. I really love the spirit and humor of the group – the women have been very open and honest about the challenges they are facing with raising teenagers. I feel this same honesty and openness with the women who come on Friday morning to the MMPG prayer time in the chapel. It can be really hard to say out loud “this is what I need prayers for,” yet a safe, secure and supportive environment welcomes honesty. Earlier this school year I experienced this at a grade-level mother’s luncheon. I was sitting with a couple of friends – one whom I don’t see often – and expected the conversation to be surface-level and easy. Yet one of the ladies dove deep into the pool just as she sat down, and opened up about an issue she was facing with her family. It was something I too was facing with my family, and it made me feel less alone, less helpless. Maybe even a little hopeful.
If only we were more willing to be open with others, we might reap great benefits and receive great graces. However, it is often easier to say, “I’m fine!” and move on, rather than open up and say, “It’s been a really tough week.” I often worry that I’m going to be identified as the local Debbie Downer. You know the one – you are afraid to ask her to Starbucks, lest you leave with less energy even after the double espresso.
But then I am reminded that even Jesus had his moments of vulnerability. “How in the Garden of Gethsemane before his death, Jesus asked his friends to stay awake with him. God of very God, in the moment of his anguish, voiced the longing for companionship.” (Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart)
If we want to build community, if we want to escape loneliness, it means being authentic with each other. It means offering our honesty, our sincerity, our vulnerability. In order to develop those close friendships, we must be willing to offer more than our time. “Putting in the effort” is not enough. We have to put in the depth. We have to be willing to “be real” with people, to openly and honestly share about our lives, even the difficult and challenging parts. Jesus offers us his very being, his Body and Blood. Are we willing to bring that level of intimacy, vulnerability, and sacrifice to our relationships? (myprincessprayer.wordpress.com)
Heavenly Father, help me to be truly open and honest with others. Help me to slow down long enough so that others can be open and honest with me. Help me to have an open heart to actually hear what others have to say. Holy Spirit, guide my words and actions to speak my heart to others in response to their honesty, vulnerability and pain. Guide the Marist community of students, parents, teachers and staff to be supportive, and to show one another our true nature. Help us to show one another the face of Jesus. Help us to be the authentic women and men that you created us to be.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.