Less Earnest than You

Pug

Disclaimers:
– I know the pink coloring is awful and offensive – we’re still working on it, stay tuned.
– This post felt a teensy bit cheesy so I thought this pug picture was needed. Enjoy.

I’ve learned about myself over the past ten years or so that I constantly strive to be the least earnest is any given situation. With few exceptions (read: literature, wine, Labrador retrievers) I will almost certainly care about something less than you, or at least pretend to. I will be less tied to our plans, on the off-chance that you cancel, and less invested in our relationship, on the (not so) off-chance that it ends. I will be less earnest than you, and I will make sure that you know.

I’m sure there are some underlying causes here, daddy issues or shitty ex boyfriends or that time my stuffed animal fell out of our moving truck when I was eight. But I pay my therapist so I don’t have to analyze these things myself. Instead, I’ll offer my non-paid for hypothesis: I do it to control the narrative you weave about me. I’ll never be the character in your story who looks like the fool. I’ll never be the one found disappointed or grieving. I’ll never be the one that feels ashamed.

This is a pretty annoying quality about me. Not so conducive to healthy relationships and a bit abrasive to those around me not crippled by this obsessive need to care less. It’s a hindrance. Poet Jack Gilbert writes (beautifully), “We must risk delight. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.”

But I don’t do that – I don’t risk delight. Because if things fall through or I get burned, I desperately don’t want to look stupid, or be pitied, or be the one left standing at the altar. I think I’m the furnace.

So when I came across this verse this morning the words jumped up and dug into my throat:

“For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers.” (Hebrews 2:11)

I can’t swallow that. Despite what I know about grace and mercy, I feel (quite earnestly) that Christ should absolutely be ashamed to call me [sister] (edit courtesy of #internationalwomensday*). I’m a major flight risk, and do nothing for his sacred, holy narrative.

And he knows this, better even than I do. He knows I’ll be the one to walk away, the one to leave him at the altar. Because I do, willingly and often.

Yet, he is not ashamed to claim me as his own. And I can’t understand it. To love with such abandon, such earnestness – to risk delight on one so buried in the ashes of the furnace of this world – I don’t get it. Oh that I should ever grasp the weight of that reality.

I don’t know how to move towards that truth, much less how to apply it to my life (or how to wrap up this post). But I know that despite my lack of understanding, truth prevails. I know that the narrative of Christ has already been written, that nothing I do can thwart it or lessen its value. And I know that my flighty, fickle, emotionally stunted self is loved, delighted in, and called [sister]*. And for now that’ll do.

*Do we really need our own day? As half of the world’s population, aren’t our achievements just humanity’s achievements? When is international men’s day?

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