Newcomers’ Welcome?

outsideI get it. I’m not comfortable, like other folks.  I’ve got edges where I ought to be smooth. Nothing’s said, but I see your faces change.  You smile; but you’re nervous.  And I’m nervous too.

I’ve come from a very different place. I don’t look like you do.  Where I’m from this is normal – but with you it feels odd.  I try and make myself fit, but there’s no room. There’s too much of me – and not enough.

I don’t get it. I go to your meetings and I sit on the corners. I listen but I don’t often speak.   I have questions: too many to explain.  Where does it say that?  What does it  mean? You smile; but it doesn’t touch your eyes. You ask how I am, but you’re scared of the answer.

I’m scared too.

I’d like to know it’s okay.  To be me.

I’d like this to be a place I can sit.  Or talk or cry or pray or sing or not – and not feel ashamed.

I’d like for my kids to be welcomed. Not because you’re nice or concerned or christian.  Because you like them – and you like me too.

I don’t want helpers. But I’d really like friends. Don’t stoop down to me. Please, open up.

6 thoughts on “Newcomers’ Welcome?

  1. That’s why I love this blog. You are intensely honest & vulnerable with us Em. You open yourself up everyday – at a huge personal cost. But also, hopefully, you see a reward as well. As you see us opening up, being vulnerable, being the people we actually are, not the projection of the people we are. Or the perception we hope people have of us – because we use all our energy on keeping those projections & perceptions up.
    You give me permission to be me, just as Jesus does. You encourage me to be the real me, the good, the bad and the ugly. You will accept me whatever, and I will accept you whatever. And we can all breath, because the effort of trying to be someone your not is just so exhausting. Jesus accepts us as we are, let’s accept each other as we are too. In our vulnerable, failing, nakedness of humanity and life.

  2. I think i get it. You have rough edges, i have rough edges and so do we all. You would think with that and more, we would be ‘equals’, but we are not. The language of illness divides and I thought it did not. The thought i could understand anything of personal experience if i really tried. I dont want the language of experience, the language of the illness to be so exclusive and i am not a thorough going empiricist,but divide it does. We share a common language but ‘we’ dont share a common experience. So i have learnt not to kid myself. I know what someone like myself has in common with the someone like Emma – a kind of awkwardness of being (?), – but there is a heck of a lot that even with the candidness of this blog, will remain a total mystery. I am sure of that . Perhaps that is a very good place to start. Therefore the language of illness , to be shareable, has to be translated into what? With that question I confound myself and go round in a circle.

  3. Mark 2.
    Do I get it? I don’t like the expression vulnerable people ’cause it implies to me that others will take advantage of you and ‘knock you over’ in some way. I prefer brokeness. If the ill person has anything to share it is surely to remind us of our shared weaknesses and the actuality of our sharing in the Passion of Christ, and that we have nothing in ourselves to be proud of. Something like that came thro very clearly in your Channel 4 piece of comment, more clearly than in the written word. Humans don’t like to be at one, on a ‘level playing field’ , therefore there will be stigma as a result of human power imbalances and misapplications thereof. But in as much as our shared weaknesses, sufferings and brokenesses point inexorably beyond themselves then we can ‘step out of the circle’ of crude earthly human desires, and powers.
    It is possible to feel both alone and consoled, but with the human community I am mostly alone. I am, too, in a sickening place , impoverished of spirit, seeking common alliances, misunderstood, but given the possiblity of being lead through the mess of life. A consolably mess is me, and you, a stoic fortitude is usually given as the answer, but falls so short. That is why I like Emma’s blog, it is like a real one woman soap, leading us with a bit of honesty beyond the usual borders of my mind, not too afraid to be honest with oneself and hopefully understand ones self and others a little bit better.

  4. FHL and Lauren: thanks

    Timo – perceptive, as ever.

    I’m encouraged by Luther’s quote from my last post: church is a little flock of the faint-hearted. ‘Inside’ or ‘outside’, vulnerable or broken: that’s where everyone belongs.

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