I love words.
I love how they have one meaning alone, but when you put them together, they create something totally new.
Take the word cellar. It's pretty depressing on its own. Darkness and clammy stones and dusty old things and hopelessness come to mind. But put the word door after it, and you have something entirely different. You may be stuck in an awful, suffocating space but now there is a door. Now there is hope where there wasn't before.
If you get this reference, major cool points to you. If not, you can thank the cult classic Donnie Darko for this bit of wisdom. Matter of fact, you should just go watch it. It's weird and creepy. But it's profound. And full of awesome 80s music.
A while back I came across two words side by side as I was reading my Bible. For whatever reason, they managed to sail right into me and drop anchor. And now I keep thinking about them. They're simple words, and by themselves aren't anything special. But together, they create an idea that absolutely terrifies me but has the potential to be so, so beautiful.
Unveiled is a great word because it speaks of something that was once hidden but isn't anymore. Something you couldn't quite get at, but now you can. It speaks of knowing and of truth. It's terrifying because of its vulnerability and its bareness.
Face seems straightforward. We all have faces. We use them to express ourselves, and people recognize us by them. But sometimes faces become masks, and others might know our face well but never really know us. It's possible to go through life wearing a face that doesn't quite unveil the person inside.
I'm terrified of this phrase because I'm naturally a reserved person. Most people who don't know me well would say I'm quiet or shy or soft-spoken. And they would have every right to think those things of me because I have a hard time feeling like I can be myself around people I don't know well. Maybe it's a defense mechanism...or a self-preservation tactic...whatever the reason, I'm usually pretty guarded for a while. I like to play it safe, and one thing being unveiled definitely isn't is safe. I need time (sometimes a lot of time) to test the waters, to unfold, to relax.
I worry I'll say the wrong thing, so I spend way too long editing myself inside my head. By the time I've decided to say out loud what I was thinking, the moment has either passed or I chicken out. I'm cautious with how I put myself out there because being fully myself comes with the risk that others won't like what they see. I guess I think that if I display a mellowed down, more-generic, more people-pleasing version of me, it won't hurt as much if people reject it.
On the other hand, yeah, the pain of rejection is muted, but it's a lot harder to actually become close to people when you are keeping such distance. The fear of awkwardness and rejection is actually causing those very things I desperately wish to avoid when I try to hide behind a veil.
Imagine the kind of potential there is for deep relationship when veils are lifted.
And that's where the potential beauty comes in. It's there when we aren't afraid to give others a bit of our quirkiness or our imagination or our rawness. It's there in the form of intimacy and understanding.
It's where true friendship and connection flourishes. Among unveiled faces.
God has given us the ability to be ourselves freely and fully with Him. He has made it so that we can have a relationship with him that is completely uncovered. He doesn't ask us to hide our goofiness or store away our out-there thoughts for another time. We are free to approach Him about anything and tell him about everything without any fear of rejection because He has accepted us.
I think of how frustrated I am when I think my husband doesn't understand me, only to realize I haven't given him enough of myself to fairly expect him to. I think of how discouraged I become when I want to share a story or struggle with a friend and don't because I am fearful of how they'll respond. I think of how disappointed I get when I don't contribute to the conversation a group of us are having because I don't want to sound stupid.
And if we are able to be so open, so transparent with God, I think it must be possible to at least begin to be more uncovered with each other.
It is definitely risky, this opening up of yourself. After all, sometimes we get cozy down there in our cellars of insecurity and fear. But we'll never know what we can gain if we never open the door.
I'm hoping I can learn to be someone who isn't afraid to lift the latch.
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:17-18