If we live a life with our eyes closed, our personal faults may remain dark unchartered caverns. Who wants to submit to a feeling of disappointment over the frightening imperfection? Who wants to love a pock-marked character blemish when all around us the message pronounces that only polished beauty matters? Who wants to admittedly reveal a fault when it completely alters the way we view ourselves? And once is it uncovered, how do you overcome the shameful ugliness of it? Rationalizations? Stories of how the scar came to be?
Deny, deny, turn a blind eye......
Deny, deny, turn a blind eye......
I'm only fooling myself. Who am I kidding? No one else sees me that way anymore and no one seems to shy away from me because i look the way i do, why would I continue not to look more deeply? I want to hold onto my perception of beauty.
When I conciously have a looksee.........when I register the reflection of who I am now, a woman in her 50's, my initial reaction is one of shock and awe. WHO is that person looking back at me? Where did that young woman go..........the one whose face was thinner and wrinkle free.........the one who used to have smaller perky breasts and not ones stretched by nursing two babies, and marked by surgery ............the one without the stretch marks and a tiny scar on her belly? When did her skin lose some of it's elasticity all over? And what's with the extra skin on the eyelids? Is this me? It is me.......... Me.
What about the faults found within? The scars and fissures from experience. Some are more visible to others than to ourselves and for the same reasons. We try so hard not to recognize our own scars for fear of being rejected. We'd rather remain blind. Our fault lines, like the ones found under the surface of the earth, our gaping holes like the ones found in old apple trees leave us trembling with the very idea that it may be the thing that turns off the people around us. What if they find out we aren't perfect? Will they stop loving us?
So, we keep ourselves in the dark. In the dark......where light is absorbed.
Our awareness of ourselves, of how we interact with the world around us increases as we get older, mostly because of the experiences we have accumulated along the way. This makes sense. The farther we skip, jump, run, walk, limp, crawl, roll down the path of life, we collect a whole bunch of things to put in our backpack. Though awareness is always sprinkled with enlightenment which accompanies learning, it sometimes isn't satisfying because, well..........it may be really ugly. It may be hard to swallow. The cracks, the fissures, the bumps, scars and scratches on the surface may not be as pretty or handsome as we want to be.
Leonard Cohen, that craggy old beautiful man sings in his song, Anthem:
The birds they sang
at the break of day
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Cohen understood the importance of letting go and acceptance of our selves, our accumulated beauty. He also had the insight to realize that perhaps our very own fault lines weren't just ornaments to wear or to try to hide in the closet. They have a purpose........
Ring the bells
that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
No perfect offerings...... Only offerings uniquely cracked. Is this how God's reassuring light can get into us? Perhaps we accumulate these experiential openings, cracks, wrinkles and fissures......those bumpy scars to let in God's love. Perhaps those same ugly marks where light is absorbed is the access God uses to fill us with the truth of real love? With the enlightenment that allows us to radiate our authentic beauty? And if we feel this wildly unconditional love, will this not lead us to understanding the mystery of what is most important in life? How beautiful is that?
Somedays though, I still wish those breasts were still a bit perky! Somedays. Most days, I let my personality radiate the perky.