Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed. – Friedrich Nietzsche
When I was a child, I loved looking, staring at optical illusions. Optical illusions are images that differ from reality. The brain and the eyes “see” something different from what appears. My two favorites were the Young Lady/Old Lady illusion and the Duck/Rabbit illusion.
Young Lady / Old Woman Illusion
At the first glance, you see a young lady staring off to the right. She is wearing a hat with a feather on her head. However, if you fixate your eyes, eventually you will see an old woman looking down.
Duck / Rabbit Illusion
My other favorite was the duck/rabbit illusion. You might see the duck looking to the left or if you look more closely, you might see the rabbit looking to the right.
I think it is all in where you position your eyes that determines what you see.
For so many of us, our lives are like an optical illusion. We paint a picture of our perfect little world, but if you were to stare closely for too long, you might find that the world is not so perfect after all.
Our desire to look good consumes us. We have to wear this or wear that. We have to eat this or eat that. We have to go here and go there. We have to be seen with this person or that person. We have an image to protect.
What if we got real, real with ourselves and stared closely at the image of us? What if we let our eyes fixate on the lives we portrait? What would we see? Imperfections? Flaws? Chaos? Yes, I’m afraid so. We would see something totally different and the picture may not be so visually appealing.
We would see that the honey moon stage is far from over and our marriage is suffering. We fight more than we get along. We sleep in different beds. We live separate lives.
We would see that our kids aren’t so perfect. They are disrespectful. They are going down a dark path. They are damaged, broken, and “dying” to fit in.
We would see in spite of all the trips and all the nights out with friends, that in fact, we are alone. We suffer from loneliness and depression, and often cry ourselves to sleep.
We would see truth. We would see life. We would see reality.
What if we had the guts, the gall, to let go of that perfect image? What if we smashed that picture down on the ground and let it shatter into a million little pieces. What would happen then?
Let me tell you. It would hurt like hell. You would feel vulnerable and exposed. You would feel ashamed. You would feel like you are losing your mind and your whole world.
I know because a few short years ago, I let it all go – the image and the need to be in control. For most of my life, I held on to this perfect image of who I was and who I was supposed to be. I didn’t want anyone to know all the hell and all the chaos that was in my life. So, I hid behind an image so you couldn’t see my flaws. For my flaws would make me unworthy of you.
What I am learning is that the flaws are what make me who I am. They make me real. They make me authentic and they make me unique. If you don’t like me because of how I look, what I drive, where I live, the mistakes that I have made, or the dysfunction that comprises my life, then you really aren’t worthy of me after all. For the first time in 38 years, I am proud to be me. I am fulfilled. I have purpose and I have self-worth. It took me all this time to figure this out, and I’m so glad I finally did.
If you do decide to let it all go and to walk down the path that I did, you should know that you won’t stay broken forever. Eventually in time, the pieces will be put back together. Only this time, you will be restored, you will whole, and you will be redeemed :)
“When suffering shatters the carefully kept vase that is our lives, God stoops to pick up the pieces. But he doesn’t put them back together as a restoration project patterned after our former selves. Instead he sifts through the rubble and selects some of the shards as raw material for another project–a mosaic that tells the story of redemption.” ~ Ken Gire