a friend said she worries about being too vulnerable with people because she’s been hurt before and people aren’t usually trustworthy. that people can be cruel and unfeeling and self-focused. so she keeps many parts of herself private, or locked away, or only hinted-at, around others.
this conversation came up, of course, because it’s the holidays, a.k.a. The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, and after all There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays, and she’s about to go through the Christmas gauntlet of a few weeks of parties with friends, days with extended family, exchanging presents, pleasantries slathered over pressure-cookers of emotional tension and expectations and painful memories.
i told her, Yes, keep yourself safe. keep those parts of your heart private and locked away. keep your shields up, be like Sulu on the Starship Enterprise.
she looked surprised and a little put off. Why? she said. You always talk about risking, and being open, and all that men’s work emotional shit, and us allowing god to flow through us.
i said, Yes, but i also talk about the importance of having a safe container in which to share who you are … and of knowing what belongs to you and what belongs to other people. your heart doesn’t belong to other people. not even – or not especially – to the people you love the most.
there is nothing gained, as Jesus said, in casting your pearls before swine. people who are worthy of your sharing yourself are rare. i’ve lost a lot of my heart by giving chunks of it away to friends, or so-called friends, who weren’t safe and didn’t deserve to carry those heart-pieces of mine. but i’ve also had many beautiful, loving people in my life who are trustworthy and strong and humble, who have proven themselves as being capable of walking alongside me and helping me carry what is meaningful.
this holiday season, pay attention; see who’s been naughty or nice; and choose wisely whom to give your gifts to.