I am not so very good with word pictures. But I LOOOOOVE beautiful places: oceans, lakes, streams, waterfalls, puddles, anything involving water, really… and mountains, valleys, hill and dale, even deserts with all the flora and fauna that comes with it…
Oh, and if you can converge any of the above with a stunning sunrise/sunset/thunderstorm/swirlingclouds/puffyclouds/crystalbluesky…
all the better. For a girl who likes to bla bla bla, I simply haven’t the talent nor the words to describe the way the beauty of creation speaks to the very depths of my soul…
except to put it in the most trite (albeit sincere) way I can:
It makes my heart sing.
So you can imagine what a whole weekend in the
Rocky Mountains was doing to my little old sing songy heart.
Vistas beyond vistas, magnificence to the point of plain old ridiculousness.
Oh, the beauty. Oh, the song in my heart. I was there for a Ransomed Heart Captivating retreat, and as if the setting wasn’t spectacular enough, there was this outdoor hot-spring fed Mountain View hot tub… An OUTDOOR HOT-SPRING FED MOUNTAIN VIEW HOT TUB, I say… where I learned, if you get up early enough in the morning, before everyone else is awake, you can sit IN THE HOT TUB while gazing out at a panoramic sun rise. Over the Rocky Mountains. RI.DI.CU.LOUS.
So you can just keep on imagining my heart was indeed a-singin one morning, en route to this magical place (oh, and by the way, did I mention, no one else was up this early so I had the place all to myself? You’ll see why this is important in a minute) in just the sheer anticipation of what awaited. And not just my heart. My mouth could not contain the song. So I sang. I can’t remember what I sang, but you can bet it was something praisy and knowing me, with a slight neo hippie twist. Not obnoxiously loud, mind you (I’m not a total inconsiderate,neo-hippie, praise singin boor, after all), but apparently loud enough for someone, who apparently was already awake, and who I didn’t know was within earshot, to hear me.
I met her in the hot tub. She came after I had been there a little while.
Here’s how the conversation went:
Stranger in Hot Tub: “Are you the one I heard singing?”
Me: “Um, yeah… that was me.” Right away I felt self conscious and tense. Uh oh, I’d been exposed.
SIHT: “I have to tell you something.”
Me: “Oh?” I knew this wasn’t going to be good. It was something about the way she said it. But then again, maybe I was just imagining it. Yeah, that’s it. I’m just paranoid. She probably just wants to be your new best friend. Yeah, that’s it …
SIHT: “When I heard you singing, I hated you.”
Me: “Oh. Wow”.
Nice to know? Thanks for sharing? Was it that bad? #awkward
*So let me just pause here and say that somehow I KNEW this was coming. I can’t tell you how, but I just knew it. If you know me, you know I love to sing. If you don’t, well, then, now you do. It is the culmination of every joy to me. And yet, maybe even those of you who DO know me may not know that I have always felt self conscious about this love, that it’s something I should not impose on the world. There has always been this nagging voice in the back of my head saying, “Who do you think you are?” So when I heard this stranger in the hot tub say this, right away, the words hit me like an old frenemy. Ah, I know this voice. And yeah, I get it. I should just shut up and keep my song to myself. What was I thinking? How could I be so stupid, so selfish, to sing OUT LOUD, where someone might hear me? My heart sank. But she went on…
SIHT: “I hated you because you were free.”
SIHT: “You were free, and I realized I am not. So I hated you. And I need to apologize to you.”
I was stunned. Have you ever been stunned in a hot tub? I gotta tell you, it’s a little weird. And honestly, I can’t remember exactly what was said beyond that point, but I can tell you this. We had an amazing, raw, honest conversation about fear and freedom, the likes of which you sometimes have with your closest loved ones, but rarely with a stranger, let alone one you just met in a hot tub. (Did I mention we were in a hot tub? Overlooking the sunrise? In the Rocky Mountains?) The kind of conversation that results in healing. Healing for her. Healing for me. And guess what else?
Singing! We both sang. I have no idea now what we sang,
but I can tell you, it was beautiful.
So this is the part where I get all Mike Brady, when he’d talk about the “valuable lesson we learned today” to his passel of Brady kids, with Carol and Alice the housekeeper off to the side in their mod family room. Something got exposed that day. Something ugly. Something painful. And it gave way to something… resplendent. In her, and in me.
For her, it was the lie that she was not allowed to be free. That others’ freedom meant her captivity. I know, stupid, right? But lies have a way of sounding so not stupid, so darn sensible, otherwise, why would we believe them? For me, it was that “nobody wants to hear you, so you’d better shut up or they will hate you”. That the very thing that brings me the greatest joy (singing praise to my Creator) is something I need to keep to myself.
“Don’t be yourself. It will offend them. They will hate you.”
That lie got exposed that day, and it knocked a whole lot of wind out of that nagging voice of accusation. For both of us. Ironic, now that I think about it, that it was a voice accusing my voice. But I can’t blame the voice entirely, because I was the one agreeing with it,
and repeating the lie to myself. Maybe even unconsciously inviting it.
(There’s a deep thought for another day and another blogpost).
That day, I began to learn the art of tuning that voice out.
I’d love to tell you “and she never heard that awful voice again, and lived happily ever after.” But that would be a lie. I still hear it. It just doesn’t carry the same authority it used to. Oh, I still have a ways to go on the freedom trail. Believe you me. But I recognize it as a lie now. And I’m still singing, hot tub or not. And that’s progress.
How about you? What lies are you listening to? Agreeing with? Maybe even rehearsing to yourself? Remember, often those lies are trying to keep you from embracing who you really are. If you’re brave enough, I’d love to hear from you, so we can stand together
as the beautiful Misfits we were created to be!