I respected and admired this friend. Very much. She was a few years older than me and always seemed so together and so very wise. I truly aspired to be like her.
One memory in particular stands out to me when I remember this friend. We were both new moms and were learning to navigate our way through motherhood. John and I spent an evening in their home and I coudn't help but notice that she seemed so much more adept at mothering than I was. At one point in the evening, she looked over at me and said in her dripping-with-honey-Southern voice: "I just love everything about being a mom".
I tend to lean to the cynical side. Not too heavily, but I definitely lean.
Amazed at her statement, I asked, "Really? I mean you really love everything? You love the sleepless nights and the spit up and the crying and the colic and loading the stroller in the back of your hatchback and changing dirty diapers and diaper rash and the sheer exhaustion of it all? Really?"
And she looked at me, still smiling and nodding enthusiastically and said, "Yes, I love everything."
I felt about as big as my baby's toenail in that moment.
Something shifted in me that evening and I realized that this friend and I were on two very different planets. I needed friends in my life who could be a little more REAL than that.
I needed friends who struggled with motherhood, friends who struggled in their marriages, friends who had a hard time navigating family relationships, friends who didn't have all the answers, friends who had doubts about their faith, friends who didn't have picture perfect lives and were honest enough to admit it.
I continued on in this particular relationship for way too long. The paths of our lives kept us in close proximity, but our hearts were miles and miles away from one another. Eventually I walked away from the friendship because I never seemed to be able to get past the hurdle of authenticity with this friend. I wish I could tell you that we wrapped things up nice and neat, but we didn't. It was very MESSY. Ugh.
So...why am I telling you this story?
Because I'm finding myself frustrated with the whole blogging thing lately. It just seems like a place that invites us to put our best face forward and mask the real stuff that's going on in our lives.
It feels like it creates an environment of artificiality.
Sure, there are bloggers out there who do an excellent job of keeping it real (and my list is highly subjective), but for every one of those there are a dozen out there that keep it happy and surface and create the appearance of an oh-so perfect life. Let me be the first to say I'm guilty.
I've talked to many women lately who tell me they read this stuff and then feel like failures because the lives they read about on other's blogs aren't anything like their own.
I've been wrestling with this lately.
I think it's one thing to say you're real, but another thing entirely to actually BE real.
For me, part of authenticity means that my personal life isn't always neat and tidy, and things don't always have a happy, joyful ending. (I strongly dislike the movie Facing The Giants for that reason--the Christian life is NOT a formula). Sometimes the stuff in my life gets me down. I absolutely believe that Jesus is the Lifter of my head, but sometimes that particular ending to my story takes days/weeks to write, and I desire to live honestly in the meantime.
If any of you have thoughts on blogging and authenticity, I want to hear them. Maybe you have some thoughts on what it means to be REAL. I want to hear that too. You can tell me if you think I'm off the mark on all this too. I'm turning this stuff over and over in my mind these days...and still trying to sort out what I think about it all.