She only asked a simple question: “How’s Jenna?”
But that was all it took. I’d been teetering on the edge all weekend. The tears finally spilled over.
We had been waiting on choir practice to begin. Jenna’s friend was just making conversation, knowing Jenna was headed back to Auburn soon. She couldn’t have known it was that exact hour. Nor that I’d answer her crying.
“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” she said over and over, as I tried to get words out that it was fine.
And really—it was fine. I was actually quite happy that Jenna was ready for a new semester. And even happy for Jeff and me—empty nest has its perks, after all.
The tears gave the impression I was nothing but sad. But they were misleading.
The tears were only spillover from temporary circumstances.
At the core, all was well.
Fears and sadness and insecurities are ever-changing.
Peace in Jesus is permanent.
We often conclude the “real” us is most clearly revealed in our weakest moments. And the rest is pretend. If we’re not constantly up front about our broken spots, we’re hiding behind a mask. If we’re not sharing our darkest secrets with someone, they don’t really know us.
But I say no.
Because as new creations in Christ, those dark places DON’T show our truest selves. The scars may continue to coexist with us for a time—and new ones may even surface—but they’re only leftovers from our false self, from living in a fallen world, from time on the trail.
Our real selves have been healed.
Our bodies and emotions just haven’t caught up yet.
The real us, the true us, is the home where Jesus lives. It’s the one who can cry on the outside while smiling on the inside. It’s the one so free in Christ we can hardly grasp it. Sometimes it takes more courage and authenticity to try putting that into words than it does the ugly things.
As Sunday morning passed along, the tears dried up, and I made it through our worship songs without crying. Even when our team gathered round to pray for other students going back to college, I was tearless.
I’m not saying my weepy moments are over. I do and will miss having Jenna around the house.
But I wouldn’t change the situation even if I could. I want her to experience new things on her own and grow up.
That’s part of my growing up, too.
Into the real me, the authentic me, the me who is discovering more and more who I truly am in Christ.
* * *
Do you sometimes confuse who the “real” you is?
- Play it safe—risk everything
- Quotes from “Help Thanks Wow”