So there is this new show on MTV called “If you really knew me”, and I have grown to really appreciate the mission of the program. The idea is that different high schools host a “Challenge Day”, where a team of speakers comes in to facilitate an intervention, of sorts. Each episode starts with a background of the high school, including issues of cyber-bullying, discrimination problems, and/or the concerns that come with the demographics of the area. The specific kids that are highlighted state the specific clique that he or she identifies with, ranging from jock, loner, emo, student council member, etc..
The Challenge Day starts with super fun physical activities at first, and then one of the facilitators talks to the teens about his/her life. The talk usually centers around the idea that at times in his/her life, they were in great pain, and what they showed the outside world was not congruent with what was really going on. The kids are then led into groups, with the directive to finish the sentence ” If you really knew me”……
The bottom line that they each learn (believe it or not) , that everyone has some level or inner pain.
Each time I watch this show, I think how much of life at the Refuge looks like Challenge Day in action. We are such a nutty and diverse group of people, try hard to be open, and deep down, we all really want to be known. Really and truly known, accepted, and deeply loved. I know I do.
Part of me wants to say, um, my community knows quite a bit about each other, and there would be no real surprises if we did this type of sharing session. However, since life is not linear, and it can look like a process of unraveling and creating, I thought that I would try to answer the question myself. Here goes.
If you really knew me, you would know that my mom died almost 9 ½ years ago, and I think about her every.single.day. You would know that I facilitate grief groups for kids, and that I learn more and more each week how deeply the death of a special person can impact us at our core.
If you really knew me, you would know that I have felt so sad about the parts of my life that my mom can’t be a part of, and that I almost didn’t go to my college graduation because I was so sad. You would know that my mom’s last wish was that I would have a picture of her at my wedding, and that the idea of the milestones involved with dating trigger the vulnerabilities of being without her once again.
If you really knew me, you would know that I am starting to push back against not only my fear of leaving my guard down, but also of starting a process foreign to me. You would know that I stopped dating in high school, when my mom was sick and dying. You would know that since that time, I have structured my life around busy-ness and activity and friends and protection. You would know that I am scared to share my life, and that I am so so bummed that my mom can’t be here to see the process unfold. You would know that I am starting to date, and that I have hoped hoped hoped that my mom is watching from afar. You would know, however, that I am really trying to let my real live community in, and let, in big and small ways, our refuge community be my family.
If you really knew me, you would know that I think that it is so beautiful how God heals our hearts in ways that are unseen. For me, this is one way that I am choosing to surrender, in hopes that the walls around my heart are permeable. If you really knew me, you would know that I am still pretty excited to see the next part of my life unfold.
Like in the show, my hope for our community is that we continue to know each other on a deeper level. Our appreciation for where we have been, where we are at, as well as where we are headed has the power to expand our love for one another. That, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful parts of redemptive community life. And I am learning so much through being a part. I am learning, in scary and new ways, what it’s like to try to be known.
I wonder how you would finish the sentence “If you really knew me”…….?