Thursday, April 17, 2014

Barnancy

Yesterday, while having a long, deep conversation with my friend, I decided it was time to share something about myself that I had never shared with anyone else before.  The less we talk of this experience, the better, but suffice it to say, it was terrifying for me.  And my friend's reaction? 

NBD.   

I don't even think she blinked. 

Her (non) reaction was a shock.  Quite simply, the conversation that followed almost too easily defeated walls of defense I've spent years building.  Perceptions of God and self crumbled before my eyes.  All that work to protect myself from something that apparently didn't need protecting.  When I went to sleep, hours later, I was still shaking my head, confused.   

This morning, I found myself still mulling over that conversation and its aftermath.  It brought me back to my favorite book, The Blue Castle. 

My entire life, I've found myself relating to, and feeling like Valancy - a girl constantly afraid of what other people thought of her and said about her, and in reality, trapped by her own misgivings.  I cheer on this kindred sister as she takes charge of her life and throws off the shackles of propriety and lives true to herself and her convictions, transforming her life of drudgery into a life of real value and good.

This morning, though, I realized I am also like Barney.  This must be why his character has always attracted and intrigued me.  Here is a man who is well-read, well-traveled, and well-written (is that a thing?  he's an author).  He started traveling the world to run from a painful past and a broken heart.  In his travels, he discovers a rich, full life of good experiences that change him and strengthen him.  Now he's back, but rather than face the world, bravely and generously offer his talents and gifts and wealth of experiences, he hides himself away on an island, content to be seen as a supposed disrepute who hangs out with the town drunk.  Time and distance, while they have sweetened his existence, have still left the bitter conviction that no one could ever truly love him. 

To be honest, his character arc is one of the most thrilling parts of the book for me - for a man to go from being convinced that no one could ever love him to being absolutely convinced that he could love and be loved in return.  It's a moment of healing for him to realize that, once and for all, he is not defined by his past and that he should not let that past hold him back from a happy future.

My friend helped me realize that, as I watched those walls I had built up fall away.  I feel a little like Barney, asking, "Is it possible to be loved, despite being me?"  The naysayers in my head scream loudly, "Never."  But a new voice is starting to whisper and growing in volume, "Yes."

1 comment:

  1. I like this post. What was the experience?

    ReplyDelete