I’ve had a number of readers message me something along the lines of, “I have no idea where you’re going with this, but I’m following you. I appreciate your story and your vulnerability.” As I’ve written, I honestly don’t know what my destination is, either. That’s half the fun, some days. Other days, it’s really hard.
I’m writing about things that have happened to me over the last few years. They’ve been good (amazing, really). Often, they’ve been subtle. But bit by beautiful bit, they’ve overturned my world as I know it. It’s like Alice following the White Rabbit. I’ve taken one step, then another, eaten a little cake and sipped some odd liquids, and suddenly I find myself well beyond known territory.
Some days it’s hard to put words to where I am and how I got here. The words of religion are so worn from being beaten into the shape of piety that I can barely get them to stand up under the weight of any real meaning. Words like righteousness and justified and helper. Friend and faithful.
I have company on the journey, thank God. But even together, it is hard work breaking ground. And my story and my perspective are my own. I can count on one hand the number of people who really get what I’m doing with this blog, and I’d still have a few fingers left.
I’m not boohooing that no one recognizes my genius. It’s not genius, it’s just experience that I happen to have fallen into, if you believe in coincidence. Providence, if you don’t. What it is is hard work, with the hope that if I can narrate the path I’m on, I will find more companions for my journey. There are Jonah days, when I get tired of putting myself out there, when I can’t even remember why I do it. Days when the vision wavers like a mirage and even I think I might be a little crazy.
Several friends have written to me about how they’re reading my latest blog series on sex, how they’re trying to think through what to tell their kids about sex. Usually they’re saying something along the lines of, “I don’t want to tell them the same thing I learned growing up. I have some ideas what not to say, but no idea what TO say.” I will be more surprised than anyone if this blog series lands on a set of guidelines that are even an improvement over what I’ve spent most of my life living by. (You know, the guidelines that worked okay until they didn’t. Some people have followed them successfully, for what that’s worth.)
If I had a child I wanted to talk to about sex and relationships (about anything, really), I’d try to find a way to tell her:
What you do and experience matters less than what you take away from it. Bad things will happen. Relationships will fail in small and large ways. The most important thing is to know and hang on to your value no matter what happens. You are precious. You are priceless. The God who created the universe valued you so much that He died so Hecould be with you when He rose again. Any story about you that doesn’t reflect that value is a lie. Try to learn not to repeat lies to yourself. The lies will come from unexpected places–from people you think are friends. From people who are friends but who are just having a bad time. In the end, the story that matters isn’t the one your hear from your circumstances or from other people, it’s the one you tell yourself. Listen to God first–listen to Him sing joy over you. Learn to tell yourself the story that He sings, and you will be invincible.
And then I would tell her the stories that God sings over me. Over and over.
This blog is me learning to listen to God sing over me, then learning to join Him in it. You may not feel like you get what I’m doing. That’s okay. If what I write sticks in your head at all, if it causes you to ask questions you might not have asked otherwise, if you just think it’s an interesting read–above all if it makes you want to tell your own story–I love hearing about that. Thanks for reading. Thank you for telling me your own stories. You help me remember that my experience has meaning. You help me remember what story to tell myself.