Each of us has a hidden place
Somewhere deep within ourselves;
A place where we go to get away,
To think things through,
To be alone, to be ourselves.
This unique place, where we confront our deepest feelings,
Becomes a storehouse of all our hopes,
All our needs, all our dreams,
And even our unspoken fears.
It encompasses the essence of who we are and what we want to be.
But now and then, whether by chance or design,
Someone discovers a way into that place we thought was ours alone.
And we allow that person to see, to feel and to share
All the reason, all the uncertainty
And all the emotion we've stored up there.
That person adds new perspective to our hidden realm,
Then quietly settles down in his own corner of our special place,
Where a bit of himself will stay forever.
And we call that person a friend.
~ by Carol Elaine Faivre-Scott ~
I came across this poem on a site about Native American poetry and thought WOW, how perfectly the author describes the deep connection of friendship that is possible when we trust another person enough to open our inner places to them.
It also made me stop and reflect on how rarely I do trust anyone enough to share my inner Self with them. My normal tendency is to stop, or withdraw, at a certain point in relationships, in order to avoid exposing my all too tender inner Self to the judgement of others. I generally choose to keep things on a more casual basis, on a safer level.
Over the past few years, I have discovered that in opening myself to the Spirit, my heart has also been opened in other ways, but even so, this new openness does not often extend to my hidden place. When I feel the presence of God, I feel loved absolutely and unconditionally (which is awesome and strengthening), but oh I have serious trust issues when it comes to people. I do not trust that they will love me anyway, in spite of my imperfections. I am afraid they will turn away once they meet the real me. To protect myself from potential rejection, I often don’t give them a chance to find out who I really am in the first place. Of course there’s also the fact that, as an introvert, I have no desire to constantly surround myself with a lot of people…my immediate family, a couple friends, and a decent amount of solitude works for me. But that doesn’t negate my “flight” instinct...that tendency is strong and hard to overcome!
Dave has navigated his way through many dark corners of my heart over the past 20+ years and, to my utter delight, I trust him completely and know with certainty that he truly loves me, complete with my plethora of insecurities and childish hissy fits! It seems a marvellous mystery that I have been blessed enough to find a person strange enough to love the real deep dark me in all my flawed glory! ;) He is truly a friend to me, this loving and accepting husband of mine.
More recently, I also have the unexpected joy of finding myself on an open and trusting journey of friendship with Valerie, with whom I feel free to share the reason, the uncertainty, the emotion that is stored within. In the spirit of this poem, I can honestly call her friend. I know she is gradually allowing herself to share her hidden realm with me, and that she is beginning to think of me as friend in the same sense. For now, I wait. Mind you, I'm not exactly waiting gracefully ;) but the important thing is that I am waiting with an open heart, instead of withdrawing, which is unusual for me (and frankly, this waiting is a strange journey in and of itself!)
And too, my relationship with God feels akin to friendship in the sense of filling my heart and soul with comfort and love, in the sense of being present in my inner hidden places, being present in every sorrow and every joy. Perhaps at the centre of every true friendship, there is God. I recall the morning I knew I had faith, felt it with my heart rather than as an abstract thought in my mind…it was an intimate, infinite, overwhelming and powerful experience. When Rev Iain (our minister before Valerie), retired, I'd written him a letter trying to express what his ministry had meant to me, and one of the things I said was that while listening to his sermons in the sanctuary, I felt close to God, but once outside that place, I struggled to feel God's presence. I think now that it was because I hadn't yet let go of whatever was blocking my faith, my trust...I had not really come to God with an open heart. But the following spring, on Good Friday morning, I felt something else entirely, I felt connected, I felt the strength and hope of the Spirit fill my heart and soul in a way I never had before. I felt suddenly that what I had wanted to believe was true, God is with me...always. It was Awesome. It was breathtaking. And took me quite by surprise, but this relationship with God keeps growing and adding new and wondrous perspectives to my hidden realm. God has no one corner of my special place though, being instead a shining presence in all corners...especially the darkest ones where the light is most needed!
I am so glad I came across this beautiful poem. Glad to be reminded of the freedom and joy to be found when I allow myself to be open to possibility of real relationship, whether with another person or with God. ♥