Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Plastic People

"Stained Glass Masquerade"

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

I have been working on the above song because I will be singing it with another worship team member on Sunday and it has really hit me in the heart. I had never heard it before, but the words speak directly into where I have lived.

I grew up in church. I attended every Sunday morning, evening, Wednesday nights and when I was a teen I even was there on Tuesdays for drama and dance. My parents moved from Oklahoma when they were married and being so far from family, we grew up with a "church" family instead. As much as that should have made me comfortable to share my heart with everyone there, it didn't. I became very accustomed to saying I was "fine" and pasting on a smile. It didn't matter if my best friend had hurt me that week, my boyfriend broke my heart or that my family was going through hell at the time. I was even so convincing during my high school years that I became youth group president even though I was partying and drinking and so on. I was so afraid to let someone know that I was not a perfect Christian that I instead turned to outside sources to numb the pain. It wasn't until a youth group retreat during my junior year in high school that I finally gave up on trying to hide my suffering and turned things around.

Many years have gone by, but I still struggle with showing my true self to other Christians. I don't want to look ugly. I don't want others to see that I struggle with issues and that I am not all "sunshine".
This song really spoke to me because I'm not sure how we can change the church, but I do know that we can start with ourselves. We can begin by not always being "fine", but really opening up to those who are willing listen. I don't mean spill your guts on the greeter, I just mean not to hold back from those at our church that we know care. Take off our "plastic smiles" and be real.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Cyber Humanity

I keep hearing a lot about this new thing called "Twitter". Even my hubby does it so I thought I'd check out his Twitter page to see what all the excitement was about. I read through his page and most of it were things such as, "Going to the movies", "washing and gassing the Camry", and "headed to bed". It began to tickle me a bit as I thought about everyone updating their page throughout the day and I started to tease Todd about it. I told him I was going to start my own page and post ridiculously tedious moments like "Now I am coughing", "Now I am reaching for the Kleenex", "Now I am out of Kleenex", "I am now going to the store to buy more Kleenex". Of course I was just being obnoxious, but it really began to make me think about why people want everyone to know what they are up to, and even more, why we read what everyone posts about their day. I find it fascinating that in a world so fearful of personal security being breached, we live our lives as an open book on the computer. We have online diaries where anyone can read out thoughts. We have pages on Myspace and Facebook that display our interests, pictures and friends. We even feel the need to let others know where we are and what we are doing. Could it be, that in this world of fast pace technology, that maybe we are actually lacking the social interactions that we, as humans, are designed for? Could we be reaching beyond the cyber world in hopes that someone will care about us? I have to be honest, the more I thought about this, the more I realized that it is true in my own life. Relationships over the internet can be fun, safe and even meaningful at times, but they will always lack human contact. I think we need to challenge ourselves to pick up the phone every once in a while and talk to a friend instead of typing them a message. We need to go out with a group to the movies sometimes, instead of always discussing it in a thread. Most of all, we need to reach out and really connect with someone who is hurting in person. As much as a card or email can make someones day, a hug or a listening ear can do wonders.

Just my two cents.