Sometimes I wonder if I live as if I am a prism.
I distort the light within me through my many different facets. My many different faces. And it is my roles and my places that determine these faces.
At work, I am confident, focused, and confronting. I solve problems. I complete things. And, I am undistracted in my pursuit of success. My face is one of determination.
At home, I battle distraction. The typical things of a home filled with children – and internet connections – vie for my attention. I am less sure in this space. The tasks that I manage to complete just start over and over again – laundry, meals, school drop-offs, homework. At home, I try to make love my ambition, not productivity. But it is a struggle. My face is one of striving.
At my writing desk, I am neither here nor there. I am in Kairos, that other-than state that transports me into an openness that can only be explained by God. In Kairos, the immensity of Him and the tiny molecule of me intersect in a way that makes sense. My face is one of receiving.
At church, I am unmasked. I am at rest in the company of imperfection. I am enough. I filter, I question, I doubt. I accept that I am incomplete. I pursue connection. My face is one of seeking.
And so this is the orbit of life:
But is this the revolution that God intended?
I wonder if the revolution He desired is one that transforms me from a prism into a window. Because, for His light to shine through me, don’t I need to be transparent and fragile, not rock solid and rotating?
I think I want to be a window.
But in transparency and fragility, I am vulnerable. It is easier and more comfortable to play my roles and change my faces. Rotation is protection. Vulnerability is risky; it is complicated and messy. Vulnerability is letting others see all of my faces, even the ones I don’t want to see.
Yet it is in this vulnerability that others see not only me, but themselves.
So I think I want to be a window, still enough to have one face, transparent enough to let His light shine through, fragile enough to let others see through me to themselves.
Determined, striving, receiving, seeking.
If I am a window, I am all of these faces, and more, at once, in every role and in every place.
If I am a window, I am one face. One face that stays rotated to God, letting His undistorted light shine through.
Yes. I want to be a window.
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“Rotating Places, Rotating Faces” was written by Holly Pennington. Holly has rotated faces through roles such as a physical therapist, health care executive, mother, writer, and entrepreneur. Her rotating places include Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Colorado. She is pursuing a window kind of life in Washington state, despite the rain and fog. She blogs about faithfully merging “dreadlocks” and “goldilocks” selves at www.dreadlocksandgoldilocks.com. She can be found on Twitter (@dreadsandgoldi) and Facebook at dreadlocksandgoldilocks.
Beautiful and thought provoking! Your words paint pictures and encourage me to seek God and myself in new ways. I love it and you, dear friend!!
Thank you for taking the time to read, Kristin. I appreciate your thoughtful comments too. And, yes, I am lucky to have found a rugged and real church community. I know churches like this are true gems!
I really relate to this piece, Holly. There are so many roles we play throughout the day, in different places, that it can feel difficult to locate our true selves sometimes! The window metaphor is a great one to recenter on. (Also, your church experience sounds so healthy and wonderful. I am thankful each time I hear about another church that encourages unmasking.) Thank you for sharing yourself here!
Holly, it is so good to meet you through your beautiful words. Thank you!
I love this: “Vulnerability is letting others see all of my faces, even the ones I don’t want to see.”
For some reason, I immediately thought of this Lenten season, a time during which I have to see some things about myself I don’t want to see. I want His “undistorted” light to burn off the grime in my heart and shine through me.
Beautiful, Lisa! You are so right – the Lenten season is made for vulnerability…I have never thought about that. Thank you so much for sharing and giving me a new perspective.