Why don’t I tell you of the tears that stain my pillow?

The hurts and fears that seem too big to share.

I don’t expect your help in carrying my pain.

Why invite you into my ongoing despair?

If there were easy answers,

I would tell you of my need.

Then we could rejoice when I am fixed,

And everyone be happily relieved.

When the brokenness endures with no end in sight,

It is asking too much of you to continually care.

When the only thing I have to share with you is pain,

I want you to be free of the burden I silently bear.

And when you ask me how I am,

I will answer, “I’m fine, and how are you?.”


23 thoughts on “Facade

  1. Before you all send me a bunch of emails, I’m fine, really.

    I seem to be channeling (in a christian way of course) some of the vibes of pain and brokenness from around the blogosphere. However, I have experienced the feelings of this post before.

  2. To varying degrees, this wearing of masks is what most Christians do on a regular basis it seems. (At least us upper midwestern Christians of stoic Northern European heritage).
    I have noticed though that the number of persons experiencing the level of pain as described in the poem seems to be increasing (or may it actually be acknowledged more?)
    How many churches (of any variety) and how many Christians are willing to come alongside for the long haul of walking with someone through it INCLUDING through sharing their own pain?

    How many persons wearing the masks (which would probably be all of us) are willing to admit to their pain in order to begin the journey of healing no matter how long it takes? Would this number increase if they knew that their pain is much more common than they think it is?

  3. In the post, you wrote: And when you ask me how I am,/I will answer, “I’m fine, and how are you?.”

    And then, in your first comment, you wrote: Before you all send me a bunch of emails, I’m fine, really.

    Well, duh…that’s what you told us you’d say ;) hehe

    Seriously, this post and the last one have been great, grace. Keep channeling. Many people out here need you to put these words to what they’re feeling.

  4. Grace, I love this line the best: “It is asking too much of you to continually care.” I think so many of us have experienced that many people will, to some extent, bear with us in our pain and walk with us…for awhile. But it cannot take too long, can it? It feels like there is a clock ticking, and yes, it’s okay if we hurt and are in pain, but after awhile the message really is, “Come on, get with the program. How long is this going to take?”

    My heart is filled with such gratitude that I have a circle of friends who have been willing to stick it out as long as it took. For me, there have been things in my life that have taken a very, very, very long time for me to be healed. I look back and stand amazed at how friends walked with me until I came into this place of joy. I hope I offer the same for them. Even if they are never healed, they should not have to journey alone. No one should.

    Your title and picture, by the way, make me think of the book TrueFaced. Great little book on grace and taking off our masks.

  5. Funny… I’ve been crying this morning, and am wondering how I’m going to get my face looking all normal so I can go to work.

    Lovely piece.

  6. Funny thing is I and everyone else know that’s what we all say to each other. But here’s the thing that struck me while reading your wonderful poem this morning – that’s what I say to *God*, too.

  7. This sounds like the very words my daughter spoke to me last month. People in pain wonder if the weight is too much for others. This is what she wrote about it:

    If you’ve ever felt the deep swell of the ocean, you will know what goes on in my chest when struck with grief, anger, frustration, love, confusion, peace, despair. The pull, the release, the damage, the beauty, all of them responding to the pull of my heart like the waves to the pull of the moon. And all of these rooted in undercurrents too deep and hidden to be seen. As the waves seem to start from the depth and move their way up, as do the feelings that grip my body. All my experiences and emotions cultivating into a powerful wave. The wave the only visible evidence of what is going on in it’s depths. Nothing I feel feels shallow. I try and fake shallow to hide the destructiveness that i surly would bring if left unretained. The weight that i would bring to conversations, to arguments. How do i open up a storm that in it’s self threatens to overtake and break me? How do i trust that someone else would be able to stand after seeing this ocean? I’ve come to learn that most of the world does not have this reservoir within them. That they don’t have the currents, the pull, the terrifying and uncontrollable driving depth to them. How then, can they understand that my words carry the weight of the tide? That when i say i am wounded, i mean it to my core. That when i say i am frightened, i shake in my depths. That when say i am angry, you can see it’s dark storm behind my eyes. They are able shake off life, distract themselves with other agendas, but how do i distract the currents? How do i distract the tide?

  8. Grace ,
    Very nice. This reminds me of a poem I wrote a little while back . It is about personal sorrow and pain, but I think you will see the similarity.You can read it here>>> http://my.opera.com/emancipated1/blog/show.dml/1567729 if you like I think writing is a great way to express this stuff. I can write in a journal or write a song or poem and sort of get it out of me( if you know what I mean) . It’s like if I write about it, I can look at it and process it more fully. I find journaling , poetry & song writing to be extremely therapeutic.
    I hope all is well with you, and that you keep writing.

  9. I think the hardest part is letting down that mask and admitting to someone (O Lord, let this be the right person) that I’m not fine. It’s a scary thing to do…

  10. Too many times in my life I’ve taken off the mask and people have used that opportunity to cut me to ribbons.

    I think it’s better to just be a hermit.

  11. One of the weirdest things I noticed when I

    responded to the call to be ‘transparent’ in my

    church community, was that while I was

    truly ‘telling it like it is’ my friends couldn’t stop

    reading between the lines.

    It didn’t seem to matter when I told them there’s

    nothing there to read.

    So if I said; “A”

    My friends would respond,

    “Oh you really mean A-B+R divided by X right?”
    (I hope that makes sense lol)

    So I’d end up living with their interpretation of

    what I said , how I felt, what my needs were,

    where I was at etc….because some communities

    are so trained NOT to talk straight being honest

    became ‘unsafe’.

    So I just went to church and started saying “I’m great! How are you?”

    Masks are a survival skill. I’m tired of using

    mine. Now using ‘wisdom’, that’s another story.

    I could use some of that!

    Who I’m transparent with and who I am careful with is something I need to learn.

  12. No matter how honest/open/transparent one wishes to be it does not obligate anybody else to be genuinely appreciative, accepting or approving…

    Of course, 100% transparency is not possible, but it is my experience that the church group/gathering exerts that unspoken expectation to conform…

    Such church gatherings more suited to “relationship lite”; only the quick-and-easy encounter is championed. Don’t really get too personal or it makes for awkward/embarrassing moments. Like, “Oh-oh, this person is really telling me their hurts/problems & all I want to do is get out of here to go eat…”

    We all go around guarded to some degree. Even with God although He is the only One that knows us as we really are & still loves us anyway. Earning trust through relational investment takes time. But even in a long-lasting marriage complete disclosure is never achieved. At the human level I do not believe it is required or expected. But certainly we can communicate to other people that being known is a sacred privilege that will not be violated. Letting someone know me can be a powerful release & yet it can also come back to haunt me. I have no burning desire to be known completely, but I also have close friends that do accept me as I am knowing me as well as they do. I have no close ‘church’ relationships like that, but then I don’t feel I am missing out on such a relationship either…

  13. Maybe I’m one of the souls you’re channeling. Great words, Grace. It’s so easy to fix (or pretend to), it’s so hard to feel. Harder still to feel for another. Thanks.

  14. Oh, Grace … thank you!

    I have come to say “Good Morning” or something similar rather than ask “How are you?” … because it is usually not asked sincerely wanting to know.

    …and eight years into my “pain”, when folks want to know how I am and I actually tell them, they usually say something like: “Oh my goodness, aren’t you better yet?”


    But they still don’t want to help; they just want it to be over.

    It will be interesting to see if my journey into the Purple Martyrdom will ever be over….

  15. We continue to suffer in silence – this is not God’s will, when we discover community.

    As I reflect I begin to see the people we are in youth become the people we will be in our infirmity, people who hold to their hurt and pain will die in their hurt in pain. And this is sad.

  16. Grace, beautiful words that speak of the pain we often feel.

    Barb, you’re daughter’s word are so powerful.

  17. Thanks for all your comments.
    I am sorry that so many understand and ((hugs)) to those who are in pain today.

    Great thoughts about masks and transparency. I agree that absolute transparency isn’t wise, but always wearing the facade isn’t healthy either.

    Perhaps we just need to take note of who actually comes alongside us when the chips are down.

  18. I was traveling this past weekend and I asked a young lady (perfect stranger), “how are you”

    Her response was, ” I feel like Shit ” Thanks for asking. Over the next few hours, we had some good talks.

    It was refreshing to see and hear “rawness”

  19. Here it becomes abundantly clear that the realization of true community, the actual building up of a communal life, is impossible without faith in a higher Power. In spite of all that goes wrong, people try again and again to put their trust either in human goodness (which really does exist) or in the force of law. But all their efforts are bound to come to grief when faced with the reality of evil. The only power that can build true community is faith in the ultimate mystery of the Good, faith in God.

    We must live in community because only in such a positive venture can it become clear how incapable of life unredeemed man is, and what a life-giving and community-building power God is.

    Eberhard Arnold

  20. Interesting Jeff.

    Good point. It’s important to remember the spiritual component of community that enables our relationships together as believers to surpass our own flawed efforts.

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