Monday, January 22, 2007

What's Your Sign?

On the way to work, I was listening to the radio, and the DJ was retelling a story about a call from a man who said that he and a group of kids were going on a youth trip when a big truck passed them, threw a rock from its cargo and cracked one of the van's windshields. The driver of the van caught up with the truck, pulled him over and showed him the crack, requesting some recourse for the broken windshield.

The guy's reply? "The sign on the back says 'Stay back 500 feet.' You should have stayed back."
The driver's replied, "But YOU passed ME. How can I stay back 500 feet?"

So then the DJ made references that trucks like that shouldn't pass other drivers or, better yet, we should find those "Stay back 500 feet" signs for our cars. We could all put them on our cars and then this kind of thing wouldn't happen.

Now that got me to thinking: How many of us unconsciously wear that "Stay back 500 feet" sign?

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When others try to get close, we point out that sign, diverting any would-be close relationships that would deflect any "real" conversations about ourselves. If others don't adhere to our sign, we speed up to get out of the way park out of sight until the drive-by close encounter is avoided.
Then if we do throw a bit of ourselves out there, cracking the barrier between us and another, we refer to the sign again, thinking that we could be in for more trouble than it is worth.

And to top it off, we then complain that we have no friends with whom to talk, with whom to cry, with whom to live. *
No wonder loneliness is the number one emotional complaint.
This whole scenario makes me so sad.

I, in case you can't tell, am all for honesty, realness and validation. I'd love to have the close, intimate relationships where you can offer advice, give constructive (loving) criticism without fear, have a friendship where you can look at someone and tell them that there is broccoli in their teeth and no one pauses for a second except to laugh about it - a friend who knows all my ugly past and yet sees the beauty that God created in me and willingly shares her past with the same expectation. I long for the day when others are real about their feelings, honest about their struggles, jubilant about success - be it mine or theirs.

But as in the tango, it takes two. Somethings you just can't do on your own. Don't get me wrong - there are those of you who are willing to dance or at least take the lessons with me. I am extremely thankful for you. Unbeknownst to you, you are answers to my prayers. But there are others who will only let you get so far...

So I pray that we will take down our signs, allow another person to get a little close and find that there can be happiness and relief when we are real with each other, warts and all.

*Disclosure: I am in NO WAY making a reference to Jeana's post on this matter. It's just sheer coincidence, so don't look for a way to start a cat fight between us. It ain't gonna happen. Besides, I've met her. I think she could take me down in 2 seconds flat... with that humor of hers. She'd do me in on the first joke.

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