Friday, March 25, 2011

Clammy Clam

Here's what I know about clams:
- On my tongue, clams feel like tongues.
- Clams are known for their happiness.
- That's all I know about clams.

Clams should not be famously happy. They should instead be famously stubborn, closed and taciturn. Years ago, little brother Jonny and I sat on the sun-soaked steps outside our room in Santa Barbara trying to open a clam. We made zero progress after a very, very concerted effort. Jonny even tried to pry it open with a knife (Sorry, PETA, we were curious children). Nothing except a chip out of the shell. The clam and its chip are now somewhere in the bushes outside Casa Del Mar, and may he (she?) rest in peace.

closed clam.

I sometimes share this clam-like quality, because it's easier to lock some parts away in a vault than to let people see. It's more comfortable to look to the side than to look someone in the eye. It can be frightening to think someone might be able to see my insecurities, my fears, my broken dreams. What would they do if they knew?!

Most of us have scars, big and little, left over from living openly in front of someone who made us never want to open up again. My natural reaction is to close up shop, call it a day, settle for "normal". But then we stumble upon Luke 4:18-19 and discover another option. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord." Jesus Christ came to set free.

What response could a person have to incomprehensible love than total freedom? Jesus saw my worst. Dirty, ugly, dead. But He didn't turn away. He wanted me. And that's what His sacrifice on the cross means for all of us. I belong to Him, today, tomorrow and forever! Why would I want to close up and live in fear of being known? He knows everything to know and still loves.

open clam. As you can see, open can also be ugly.
 But that's okay.
Responding to an offer of freedom doesn't come without risk. There is still huge risk of hurt. But think about the risk of never opening up. Ugh. The people I enjoy and admire most in life are open. They're not afraid to let me see their mistakes. I've seen them without makeup on, and we're still friends. Growth happens when we open up. We benefit, others benefit.

When you watch the blossoms open on trees the next few weeks, try to follow their lead and live a life of open beauty. We want to see you.

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