Honesty in the most unlikely of places....
We were out in the cold waiting to eat at the newest "hipster" place in Deep Ellum, Tenoshi Ramen, when he approached us. Small and shaky, a man sauntered towered us, his hands fumbling his oversized jacket.
"Ma'am...ma'am. I just got out of drug rehab and I'm real messed up. I need money for the night shelter and some dinner....it's so cold out tonight."
He held out his hands where a few coins and a dollar bill sat.
"I have this much, I only need four dollars.."
Only. The word struck me like a ton of bricks.
At least he was honest. He didn't have to mention drug rehab, nor did he have to tell us he only needed four dollars. That was barely enough to buy a happy meal, much less any kind of drugs or alcohol. He wasn't shisting us, he was simply asking for his most basic needs to be met.
Tears welled up and a sigh of relief escaped my lips. His honesty was like healing balm to my cynical heart. No fronts, no masks, no gimmicks. If I'd had a million dollars I would've handed it over, because it was worth the price of his real-ness.
I wish more people talked like that, I thought to myself.
Because let's be real, there aren't a whole lot of places that are safe to say we're struggling. People lay out their struggles in my office all the time, bracing for the lecture or disapproving look they are sure will follow. Like Pavlov's dogs, they've been trained to brace themselves for a certain outcome, and it's this, that brace for the disapproval, that I wish would change.
What if instead we could all be transparent about our struggles? What if we stopped giving people easy answers to their problems and simply "mourned with those who mourned?"
What if we stopped trying to "pull people out" of their muck and instead climbed down there with them and shared our own?
It only takes one person.
One person to drop the act to let others know it's safe, and we could create a ripple effect, a revolution of sorts.
We could make it safe to be honest.
This is my dream--for the world, and more importantly for the church. But I can't change it by writing this post. I can only change it by doing it myself, and by hoping that you'll join me in taking off the mask.
As the man in my story put it, "I'm real messed up."
Ain't that the truth.