Friday, August 25, 2006

Tarp People

I was out for a walk with my dog today. As usual, my mind moved from one thought to the next. Uninterrupted time is what I like most about my walks. Time to think and breathe deeply.

As I walked, I saw a common element in many yards and driveways that I passed by.

Things were wrapped up tightly in colourful tarps. Some tarps were green, others orange. Though slightly obscured by the tarps, the shape of each underlying item was visible. I saw a trailer, a boat, an R.V. and a 1967 GTO.. (nice car!) all wrapped up in plastic.

The tarps have a purpose. They protect and preserve surfaces from harmful UV rays and from rain damage. But the tarps can’t hide what is beneath them. The shape of the object always shows through.

I think we are often like that. We wrap ourselves in physical and emotional layers. Our tarps of choice have labels like The Gap or Lululemon. This layer expresses our personal style, and keeps us warm and dry. But, this layer is not who we really are.

We have also learned to wrap ourselves with emotional coverings. Pasted on smiles, “I’m doing fine, thanks.”, “Everything is under control”, or busyness layers, protect us from the “elements” of others. Sometimes these tarps are very thick and seemingly impenetrable.

The thing is, no matter what physical or emotional layers we choose to put on, the truth of who we are shines through in some form or another. Our tarps are often quite transparent. And, if the truth were known, most of us would much rather remove the tarps altogether and show who we really are.

Being real is something most of us long for. To trust one another enough to be who we really are, is our heart’s desire. And it is only through being real that we can experience true intimacy in relationships.

So, what’s the solution? How can we find safe places to be real? How can we trust others and ourselves enough to remove our tarps?

I think the ability to be real comes slowly and with age. It comes with being sure of who we are, and in putting our identity in who we were created to be. It comes with taking chances, learning lessons, and trusting again. It comes with healing. It comes with grace. But, it does indeed come.

So, if you catch a glimpse of the real, "untarped" version of someone you know, take the opportunity to affirm their courage, and shed some tarps of your own. The blessings will be mutual.

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