Thursday, January 26, 2017

Honesty is Such a Lonely Word

Honesty? Haha! 

Honestly, I feel like a broken record. 

I have been writing about the same theme since at least 1996.. back when I got one of my first songs “downloaded” to me during Mrs. Sweigart’s American History class. I always found it so hard to stay awake in that class, so it’s kind of a miracle that I actually wrote the lyrics down. I was probably in a dream like state and maybe that’s how the song came to me. 

Faces. Masks. Behind our guards we hide and hope no one will ever ask. 
Reality. Pain. Frozen smiles and empty eyes that tell of silent shame. 
When will we learn to remove the veil? To empty our black hearts and be free?
Oh, it’s cold in the bottom of this empty well, but still we choose to hide inside ourselves. 

I was terrified of people being fake. I think I was terrified that if I didn’t know how to be real with people that I would turn out like my mother. Isolated and dying on the inside. And then, dying for real. 

The truth is, it isn’t safe to be honest with everyone. I sure have learned the lesson of “casting my pearls before swine.”

However, sometimes you find people you can trust. And sometimes, those people help you realize it is ok to say what’s really on your heart. And then, you realize that maybe it would be a good idea to tell God exactly how you feel.. since God actually knows you better than the people you are staring at and He really enjoys honesty too. 

In 2010, I was doing some counselling with a beautiful person with whom I felt very safe. I borrowed a book from her shelf, “Till we Have Faces” by C.S. Lewis. It moved me. And, the other day, I had this moment that took me right back to that book. 

I was sitting at a round table with four other women. I guess you could say the five of us are on a journey together. It’s pretty brutal. Honest. Messy. Admitting our weaknesses. Sharing our fears and our dreams. It was while one of these dear ones was sharing that I got a big smile on my face and thought “that was a ‘till we have faces’ moment.”  She said how she used to go for drives and just yell the f-bomb at God. I had this strange (well, maybe not strange.. more like refreshing) feeling as I felt like the smile on my face was also on God’s face. In those moments of crazy rage.. she was being real.. and I think maybe He said, “now, finally.. here’s something I can work with.”

And here are the words that came to mind from the book:

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech
which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

I love that line: “the babble that we think we mean”. Good intentions. We say what we think we’re supposed to say. We say stuff to try to muster up some faith or courage that we might not actually possess yet. When it would be a whole lot more helpful if we just stopped and listened to what is actually going on inside and spoke from that place. 

Something is happening in me lately. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I feel like I am being awakened to a whole bigger picture.. uh.. like finding out that God is way cooler than I thought He was.. like that verse says about being able to comprehend the “breadth and length and height and depth” (Ephesians 3). I’m finding out that He is EVERYWHERE and He is loving on EVERYONE. He just keeps showing up: in support groups, in the trees, in the skies, in the words of friends, in songs I hear, in books I read.., etc.. 

Tonight, when I was starting to write all this out, an old song by an old friend came to mind (which is another small miracle because I haven't heard this song in years). The dear soul who wrote this song, Keith Naylor, went home to Glory around this time last year. I listened to this song tonight and I’m so grateful for these words which really describe what is going on for me lately, and I cherish the memories of how Keith lived and loved. 

The Face of God  by Keith Naylor
I see the trees they’re growing in the forest, I feel the wind on my face
I see the clouds they’re painting a picture, and I see the face of God

Won’t you look up and see oh life all around you
won’t you open your eyes to the world
Won’t you free your mind from the chains that bind you
And see the face of God

I see a woman slowly dying I see her husband sing her songs
and I see a rose gently lying on her casket
and I see the pain of God

I see a young boy no longer living
I see his mother cry out
and I see a pain that seems to go on forever
And I see the tears of God 

Won’t you look up and see oh life all around you
won’t you open your eyes to the world
Won’t you free your mind from the pain that binds you
And see the face of God

I see the ocean waves as they’re crashing 
I taste the saltwater breeze 
and I see a setting sun build an ocean sidewalk
And I see the face of God

Won’t you look up and see oh life all around you
won’t you open your eyes to the world
Won’t you free your mind from the pain that binds you

And see the face of God


  1. Hi Dear Ash, I wanted to share this verse with you--Psalm 30:9 "What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?"
    I've been meditating on a Psalm each morning before I pray to help me "feel" like praying and to just get prepared to pray. This particular Psalm has been the one that I've been meditating on for quite a few days.
    When this verse popped out to me, I thought about your last blog and thoughts of death, etc. I know that there have been a few times in my life when I have wanted to just fade felt too hard to go on...etc.
    But, there's something in this verse that is so affirming as to why we keep on and what our purpose is: There's profit when we praise Him and profit when we can declare His faithfulness!!
    This verse speaks to my heart and soul loudly. Love you! Mom H.

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Ma Ham. I have found this to be true as well. I keep seeing His faithfulness (even though there is lots I don't understand) and I come back to that place of praise.
      Hope to see you in July! Xo