Sometimes I’m a liar. I passed another one on the road this morning and laughed out loud at the resemblance. A flattened raccoon was rolled out on the pavement, thin as a flapjack…all but his dear little tail sticking up proudly like a flag still waving. I murmured, “yeah, me too, Sparky….I’m fine, too.”
I like to fancy myself an authentic woman with her cards on the table. Sometimes I am. But my imagination has always been a rich, fertile hiding place. I can pull out my paints and splash the walls of my countenance with illusions of “together” or “virtuous” or “sweet” when I’m really wrangling for some control. Sometimes I smile and nod politely while I’m busy evaluating and sorting out my next move. Or worse, the other person’s. And can I ever hock up a hairball of judgment when I’m feeling really insecure.
Somehow, seeing this undone critter with his tail held high reminds me of those ugly parts of myself…and that when I run away into my own devices, I unwittingly take cover from showers of mercy pouring down on fields of grace….the thriving fields. These are the green pastures and still waters of vulnerable honesty where my true heart can find safety and rest. I have an open invitation from the shepherd of my soul to take shelter here….and to become my true self, as well. When I pass on it, yielding instead to the fear that drives me to grab for some illusion of control, I end up looking a lot like this plucky road-kill. I’d really like to quit my fear….and the posing that seems to ride shotgun alongside it.
Jackson Browne painted these skittery places in my heart when he wrote, “Caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender…..say a prayer for the pretender.” I want to be soft and curious in all of my parts….to live out in wide open spaces where the genuinely free survive and even thrive. No more suspicion; just wonder. Saying another prayer for the pretender in me.