She is tall, slim and beautiful. And instantly I feel "less than." Her eyes catch mine and I look away before she can smile, sealing myself off from her. I focus on our kids playing Lacrosse together. Fear has snapped my heart shut. I close in on myself, tangled up in that ancient game of Mommy Comparison.
She is slim and I am chubby. She is happy and I am sad. Her life looks so easy and mine is so hard.
I stop myself.
This is not the person I want to be---consumed with thoughts of my unworthiness, my not good enough-ness, my flaws and shortcomings.
My heart was broken open last week. And I want to keep it that way. I want to stay tender and vulnerable. I want to stay raw and honest. The ability to feel is precious--although I spent much of my childhood and early adulthood suppressing my feelings and telling myself they were sinful.
It's hard work to leave the floodgates of my heart wide open. It is far safer to have a heart of stone than a heart of flesh---nothing hurts a heart of stone. But a heart of stone cannot love, either.
A heart of stone can't weep when she sees a sunset like this from her backyard:
For most of my life, friends have told me that I am "too sensitive." (What does it mean that I'm "too" sensitive? Does it mean that my sensitivity is inconvenient? Does it mean that my sensitivity complicates things?)
And so, to win their acceptance, I spent a lot of years trying to be less sensitive. Sometimes I would even make up arbitrary goals like: Don't Cry So Often, Don't Laugh So Loud, Don't Hug So Hard, Don't Love So Much, Don't Care So Much.
I actually worked at trying to be more hard-hearted! No wonder my heart snaps shut whenever I perceive impending rejection or whenever I think I don't measure up to someone else.
My closest friends are the cool, calm, rational thinkers. I am drawn to them, admiring their logic and way of seeing the world. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot be like them.
I am slowly beginning to accept and understand my ENFP-ness. Sometimes, I get judgmental on myself about being an ENFP because being this way is often messy and inconvenient.
But God created me this way--I am a feeler. Instead of viewing my ability to feel as a liability, perhaps I can start viewing it as a gift.
Perhaps God is breaking open my heart and allowing me to feel again so that when I go Bolivia, I am able to authentically connect with the people and share their stories with you.
Maybe the ability to feel is not a liability. Maybe it really is a gift.