Real Lives Here, Sometimes Real isn't Pretty

Spittle flies out of her mouth hitting the window and hair explodes off her body with each breath.  That's reality when Kanti barks.  The mess reminds me that Real lives at our house and sometimes Real isn't pretty.

It is hard to find Real, because many of us treat Real like an intruder.  We expend energy denying the existence of Real or just pushing Real into the closet so no one else can get to know us.   It's no wonder a friend said "It's so hard to find Real anymore."  But Real is powerful, and if we are brave and begin to get comfortable with Real we can learn so much about each other and ourselves.

Don't worry, I'm not about to get comfortable with a dirty house.  Kanti lives here which makes the 'no-vaccuum' option completely impractical and frankly quite gross.  We will continue to do the ritual cleaning before guests arrive because it is our way of trying to make your visit in our home really enjoyable, plus we take pride in how pretty everything looks when it is dust free.  You might think that is shallow, but I'm just being Real with you.  It matters to me whether my home is clean and I care about whether you are comfortable when you visit. So there.

Dirty Dish Confession

Sometimes, Real is in our face and a bit overwhelming, like all those dirty dishes after an open house, or that precious little person who screams for hours on end, or a diagnosis of cancer.  Reality can be hard and painful.  Other times Real is just weird, like Greg pulling out his temperature thing-a-ma-jig to check the heat of the frying pan.  Whether hard, funny, or sad, Real brings richness to our lives and relationships.

What Real looks like after the party...
We seem conflicted about our desire for the presence of Real.  We want it and we lament its absence, but we fail to welcome it into our lives and we are reluctant to share the hard edges of our realities with one another. Conversely, we are pretty good at advertising the best parts of our lives.   I have to admit to being far more likely to post a vacation photo than one of the stack of dirty dishes on my counter.  Think about it.  Go through your last five social media posts.  Reflect on what else happened in your life in that time span and whether you shared some of the not so pretty Real stuff with anyone else.  I'm not recommending posting your whole life on social media.  I am suggesting we need to find and build a community around us where it is okay to invite Real to the party.

Loneliness Grows Where Real Isn't Welcome

There is comfort and value in a community that is willing to share the hard parts and to ask for help.  There is richness in being part of a community where we can be ourselves, where we can be Real.  I have been more and more aware recently of the epidemic of loneliness in our society.  People are increasingly lonely and isolated despite increased connectivity.  I suspect that loneliness grows when we fail to build community where Real is welcome.

Community starts with one who is willing to be Real and invite others to the reality party.  Real requires us to ask one another for help, to be honest about our joys and our sorrows, to accept each other with our foibles, even the weird ones.  I mean weird foibles, although there is something to be said for inviting weird people in too.  Weird people have the ability to make us laugh.  Last night, Greg pulled out his temperature thing-a-ma-jig to check the heat of the frying pan as he confessed to being a nerd about thermometers and temperature tracking.  I couldn't resist the photo, and he asked the question that probably frequently haunts him, "Is this going to show up in the blog?"
My resident nerd! 
Ah, the danger of living with Joy.  Of course it was going to show up in the blog.  What a perfect example of us living our regular life on a Friday night, being a bit weird in a safe place and laughing at ourselves.  No judgement.  Something wonderful, and healing happens when we are willing to be ourselves with each other, and welcome Real into our lives.  It's hard work though and there is no room for fake anything.

Be discerning, be brave, take a risk.  Community is built one by one.  One person decides to live the Real life, and others are attracted.  One decides to share their joys and fears, their uncertainties and their certainties, and another finds similar courage.  One, by one, by one, it happens.

Join us this year as we work at inviting Real to the party and building a community where we can be ourselves, where we can share our hurts, triumphs, doubts, and our shortcomings.  Please share the blog with your community and your thoughts with us.