Saturday, March 06, 2010

2. Be Open

This particular "Be" could mean "Open Your Heart." It could easily mean you should open your eyes and open your arms to accept others.

But it doesn't.

When I say "Be Open," I am talking about the doors to your house... and in some cases I mean this literally.

I should explain here, while I think that I am a pretty good mama and a nice person, I am a mediocre to middlin' housekeeper. Oh, I mean well enough... but there are always art projects and the park calling to me, to say nothing of good books and then there is that new little Netflix
Online thing-gummy. Like most anyone I know, I love to have a clean home... but apparently I don't love it enough to actually do what it takes to have one most of the time. Really, just the whole "food" and "cooking dinner" shtick, along with dishes and clean up of meals sucks down so very much of my soul, there is little left to give a hang about cleaning the Koolaid drips off the baseboards in the kitchen.

That is... until I think about inviting someone else over and allowing them to see the reality of how we live around here. How on earth do I let someone see my messy life? How do I get over the shame of being who I am, a diffident maid and lackadaisical spot-shiner, a silly heart and a dreamer?

At first my answer was to clean the heck out of everything and then invite folks over, and that worked nicely with the bonus of fooling everyone into thinking I had and could do "it all." But I kept having kids. With every addition to the family, the chinks in my facade started to become more apparent, but need for friends grew. What to do?

In the end I got forced into opening my door, even when I wasn't proud of what others were seeing. I opened my door and had lunches and got really grateful for the new tile in the kitchen that hides the heck out of the fact that I haven't mopped in two and a half weeks! I opened my door and realised that this open door policy is kind of a metaphor. Because I had to let people see my messy life as well as my messy house. I got pretty darn real about the fact that while I have some talents and gifts, baby... I don't have it all, and I certainly don't have it all together. And that is just fine.

Turns out I didn't really have anyone fooled anyway.

I am starting to think that I might want to re-title this series of posts into "Something About Bees and Stuff I Learned On My Mission," because here I need to share another fine tidbit I learned while while serving. In order to teach the Gospel effectively, it really helps if the people you are teaching know that you love them. As a Missionary that's the easy part. The love that you have for the people you serve just seems to bubble out of your pores and wake you up at night with the desire to hit your knees and pray for your investigators and the members of the church in the area where you serve, just one more time. But even more profound is what can be taught by the Spirit when the student loves the teacher, but it's a little more problematic to get someone else to love you back. I had an amazing Trainer though, and she taught me a secret, and I am going to share it with you.

The secret to getting others to love you: let them serve you.

You think I jest? Not hardly, y'all. I am absolutely serious. Think about it... do you have a speciality in the kitchen? Something that you make well, and you think tastes darn good? Picture yourself offering a random individual a bit of your... we'll call it Brownie Supreme, and they don't want to put you out and politely refuse your treat out of some misguided sense of manners.

Huh. How do you feel about them?

Now offer it again. Random person takes a bite of Brownie Supreme, and WOW! Sonuvagun! You are right, that is some kind of brownie you have going there! Random individual enjoys every bite and thanks you and now how do you feel about them?

Sure I have simplified the principle, and you never want to overdo the getting served by others. A little goes a long way and all that. What I am trying to say is that it is not only OK to be vulnerable and allow others to help you, in some ways it is absolutely necessary to friendship.


elizasmom said...

LOVE your example at the end, again — you have a great way of illustrating these concepts you are talking about that just makes it easy to follow along.

So — what's next?

Mama D said...

Yes, that cleaning before having people over thing is a problem for me. And then it can prevent you from wanting to 'be open'. I'm working on that one. And I have a hard time being served too. I'll work on that too.