Monday, March 11, 2013

Will the Real Family Please Step Forward

Here is a common question people pose every so often after reading other folks blogs: how do they keep everything so perfect in their lives? And the answer is they don't. It's super easy to make your life appear perfect from behind a computer screen.  Pictures can be cropped to leave out the mess or posed or fixed up with editing software (not like I've ever done that or anything). Kids can be quickly cleaned up and bribed to look happy. And stories are easily edited to provide what people want to hear or to provide for some privacy for your family.

Let's be honest here. Most folks don't want to read a blog that actually shares the truth.  They don't want to see the nitty gritty reality of daily life. They don't want to see the pain or hard times that make a family real. They want to see the fun stuff, the glamour, the 20 minute sitcom version that happily wraps up with everyone sitting around the table laughing.  It makes you feel that somehow you can achieve that same thing for your family.  Or helps you gloss over the not so fun stuff in your life and focus on the good.

Reality is that when you make an attempt to share who you really are and what is really going on, folks get uncomfortable. They get upset. They get angry.  If you take away that vision, it rather upsets them.  It's opening the door and giving too much of the truth. And yet only sharing what people like to see or hear is frankly boring.  And often feels to me like lying.  But it's what people want. They don't want to feel reality or the pain in someone else's world because they likely have too much of it in their own life.

I have often wondered if we are hurting each other more by hiding the real versions of ourselves.  When you hit those hard times, isn't it easier to deal with if you can find someone else who has been there and done that? If you can find someone else who has traveled the same road and survived? So you can feel and see that you truly aren't alone? If we hide everything we are really going through, don't we lose out on a chance to minister to others who can learn from what we've already experienced? Don't we lose a chance to help other people? To help them feel less alone and less like they are doing something wrong?

So, hm, we can admit that we are all totally broken and somehow surviving and be of help to one another.  Or we can pretend that life is all puppy dogs and rainbows and just keep smiling because we don't want to risk ever upsetting anyone. I know which route is the healthier one emotionally speaking but it's not the polite one apparently. So just remember when you see the pictures that I bet just around the corner is the pile of toys and clutter that got shoved out of the way, there is a child crying in another room because a sibling just threw something at them, dinner is either coming out of a box tonight or is an abandoned burned mess on the stove because a teenager got distracted, the laundry is a week behind schedule, the floors likely haven't been mopped in months, the vacuum is broken so you don't really want to see what rugs look like other than that clean spot where the toddler spilled a box of cereal and the dog cleaned it up, there just might be a bill or two sitting on the counter that someone is trying to figure out how to pay, at least one kid just outgrew all of their clothes and ripped a hole in their shoes, a bedroom door is broken because two kids got into a fight when one went into the other's bedroom without permission, and instead of cleaning it up at the end of the night the parents just sat down and looked at each other questioning where the heck they went wrong because no one ever told them life was going to be like this.

Yes, we are all broken and falling apart and hiding something.  And I can't help but think that if we all quit trying to hide so much from each other and putting on the air of perfection that maybe, just maybe life would get a lot easier for everyone.

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