Thursday, November 29, 2007

The View From The Inside and The Outside

This is not going to be about how you dress, its about what we are at home with our children, our husbands/wives and then how we are outside the home. I often have seen parents cringe when a child speaks about something that happened at home, showing a side of the parent or home that they never wanted anyone to know about them. Maybe the child spoke of mommy being so angry and screaming or yelling, when in public she is the epitome of a serene parent.
Or perhaps dad and mom hate each other at home but when in public they speak about their perfect marriage. It might also be that a family lives the high life, fancy car, big house decorated to the hilt, but they never want you to know that they don't answer the phone because of bill collectors calling, or they are one month shy of loosing it all.
It might even be that you speak of your close walk with God when in reality you hardly ever pray and walk before God in just about every aspect of your life. Does the inside of you match what you show to others ?
We drive a really old car by most folks standards. A 1991 Ford Taurus station wagon. The paint is blistering in spots and worn off in others. It really doesn't look so great, but mechanically it is sound as can be. I would feel safe hopping in that car tonight and driving across country. Emery has maintained that car beautifully, except it looks like it has a touch of leprosy on the outside. The outside doesn't reflect the running aspect of the car. If I was to purchase this car by its looks, I would get so much more than what it appears. It is gem hidden in poor wrapping. It doesn't portray a better outside than inside ! On the flip side, there is a car I know of that is beautiful, polished, spotless, expensive looking, but the insides are old, ready to give way, the car has needed major repairs one right after another. It is costing a fortune to try and make the inside match the outside and now its over, the inside is beyond repair. Which of the two cars would you rather be seen in ? Which of the two cars would you want to travel in and trust your child to be in ? You see...we can be that same way. Look like one thing on the outside, speak or write about what we want people to think, when in reality it may not be who we really are. I would rather match up, inside and outside. Be real, so that there are no surprises. Not always easy and more often than not, its our insides that need the repair work. At 53, I have no desire to "pretend" to be something I am not. I think my children would say I am just what I say I am, that our home is just as I say it is, that my marriage is as good as I say it is, but when I was 30 ish, I suspect the "outside" was a bit more gilded than reality. I was not always as patient with the children at home as I was when we were out. I yelled sometimes at home, but I never wanted people to know that I raised my voice or grew impatient. I have always tried to be honest about how I am spiritually and that has often cost me as its not popular to be open about such things. But the cost of honesty wins you the most loyal friends ! In my searching I have found many very "conditional" acquaintances for which I am better off not having as friends.
I think the biggest turn off about Christians is that we pretend too much. We want to appear perfect and shiny and often talk about our prayer life, our modesty, our home life as perfect etc but in the home or in business we are something different. We might drive with rage, yell at some person in the store. I certainly am far from perfect and am the first one to share that fact. Rather be open about my struggles. I remember seeing a priest with his collar on at a local Jack in the Box. His order was wrong. He got a small french fry in place of the large he had ordered. He screamed at the young girl waiting on him, screamed, not yelled. Everyone in the place stared at him. He slammed down his food, got in his truck and tore out of the parking lot at a very high speed. Sure he is human we know that, but it was shocking none the less to see how different his inside (anger)was from what his outside (clerical collar) spoke about his life. It would have been so much better if he was gentle and kind with no collar on or if the outside matched the inside.
I had been to mass at his church many times but now when I see him, I see that scene unfold again in my mind. He may have gone back and asked for forgiveness, I don't know, but the thing is, we are all on view much of the time, and our acts speak truths about us and in time people will know the truth of our hearts and even if we can act for many years, someone knows the truth about us, be it family, friends and certainly God knows.
In the past year I have heard story after story of what appeared on the outside to be fine Christian homes when in reality the father was a monster abusing his children and wife. Don't change the outside if it looks good, but change the inside so that what appears to be loving and kind is what it is. Live a life that you never fear being exposed. Know that your children, young or old do not know a life story different from the one you want people to know.
Let your buggy ride of life have the same view from the inside and the outside !


CJ said...

Amen to that...not so easy for some folks! Sometimes trying to reconcile the two faces (public & private)is like fighting a war. We faced this personally when we were newly married and M was leading a small worship group. We tried to live "up to" the rigid standards of our mostly elderly members...couldn't in the end of the day. It's taken many years and lessons to have both in and out match and I still feel sometimes I'm not who I am...sigh! I enjoy your posts so much because they're so direct, so honest!

Patty said...

Thanks CJ, I often say a prayer, asking God, do you really want me to say that ? Then I take a deep breath and hit the publish tab. Never sure what sort of response the post will get. "Direct" might be my real middle name : )

Rose/CountryLife said...

Another wonderful post.

T*mmy said...

Wow, Miz preach a powerful sermon, yes you do! I haven't heard a sermon this good in ages...wonderful!

I struggle in my blogging to be real. A friend emailed me this morning of their struggle to accept all of the "in your face" home decor that many of the blogs display. How real are we really being on blogs anyway. How real should we be? I've often struggled with this question. Someone asked me was I going to participate in the Christmas Blog Tour of Homes...a post where you post your Christmas decor and then link up at one centraly located blog and then go "ooh and ahh" over each one. I participated one time during their very first summer one but said never again. I felt inferior, to all. Some of them as young as my own young adult children with "stuff" I could never dream of having. What really goes on behind the pretty pictures though??

I love your helps me to think!! =)

Lib said...

Another Amen to that post.
I've seen just what your writing about time and time again.Makes me wonder does people not think others can see thru that?
Keep up the good post.:o)
Blessins', Lib

Patty said...

Hi T*mmy I know just what you mean about those blogs that are like glossy magazines. I just don't even look at them any more, they make me want things and I am content without all that stuff, but it makes you feel sorta like an ordinary woman trying to be on the fashion runway of homes !

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

What a great post my dear! So many truths! I grew up in one of those families that tried to make all look so wonderful to the world yet home was anything but!

Catherine said...

Another wonderful post, Patty.

Much To Catch Up....

In mid January, we saw the passing of my father and after nearly two years of caring for him, it was so hard to see him leave u...