Today someone gave me a lovely compliment. They said they admired me because I am so transparent. I write honestly about whatever I am feeling and going through at the time and make myself vulnerable and real to the rest of the world.
Now, let me tell you I am never one to turn down a compliment. I accepted it and smiled but I have to wonder if this is really a good thing or a bad thing, this transparency thing. As with most stuff in my life, I would say it is both.
Being transparent about how I feel about people has, at times, hurt those people and they have responded accordingly; I accept my responsibility in the breakdown of our relationship, ask for forgiveness and move forward. I used to be paralyzed by it. I can't be anymore; not because I don't care (though I have said that in the past) but because I cannot live my life hoping someone will love me, accept me for who and what I am and forgive me when I do wrong. I grew up with a parent that regularly told me he loved me but did not like me. As a result I walked on eggshells. I was afraid to ever express an opinion that was contrary to what would please him. Sometimes, I would express an opinion that I honestly did not think would be that big a deal only to have the Wrath fall on my head for days and days.
When I got sober, I learned that I while I am not responsible for the bad behavior of others I can be responsible for repeating behavior that I know will result in their flipping out. I stopped being provocative, learned to forgive my father and was, at the end of his life, the only one of his three known children who had a decent relationship with him. I even learned to be able to express how I thought and felt with him in a way that did not freak him out. While I like to think that was a result of my own maturity and spiritual growth it was probably also a result of him getting older and mellower. Wait long enough and good stuff can happen, right?
Now that I am grown up and alone, I find that having my own opinions and ideas will always freak someone out. Someone, somewhere will read what I write and be convinced it is aimed at them, about them, for them, etc. etc. I will always upset someone. Most of the time it will not be intentional. Sometimes my own sinful nature may get the better of me and I will hope that someone who has hurt me will read what I write, get an idea that I was hurt by their actions or think their decisions are dumb and change their ways.
That has never happened, by the way, so my dear readers can rest assured the number of times I give in to that particular self-centered action are fewer and fewer and fewer. I remember the last time. It was several months ago. I have no intention of repeating that anytime soon.
To be honest, however, people might read my blog and think I am trying to make someone change or do something or listen to me when I am not. People might read my writings and find it necessary to assure me that I cannot be held hostage by the behavior of others. I understand people are loving me when they give me this type of advice. I want to assure them - I know.
Writing the type of blog I write is difficult. I am trying my best to live a certain type of life - Sober, loving and Catholic Out Loud. I know that the lifestyle choice I have made is not politically correct. I also know it is the way, the Truth and the life. I made a choice many years ago to live my life for love and service to God. I am transparent because by being transparent I have a better chance of living that life. I do not live a perfect life. I lose my temper, I get hurt, I get tired and I am sometimes so fed up with the people in my immediate sphere of existence I fantasize about moving somewhere no one will find me. However, wherever I run to better have WiFi, right?
I appreciate the compliment I received today. I will continue to try my best to be transparent and live as openly sober and openly Catholic. I will try not to care too much about the opinions of others and I will try very hard not to hurt others as I walk this path.
If I falter, please forgive me.
And always, please, keep me in prayer.