Whenever someone asks me to write my bio, I have a few that I have written already. Do you want a long version or a little snippet of my life? I ask. I’ll take one I already have and then add or subtract, change the ages of my kids if they’ve passed a birthday and go on from there.
But it’s hard. How do you sum up a life in under 100 words? Or under 400 even?
My “bio” usually has words in it that sound like
Sarah lives a fully redeemed life in a restored marriage yada yada yada. She believes in grace and second chances etcetera etcetera.
And there’s nothing wrong with this because if I have to quantify the past decade in a few words, it’s the best way to do it. It is true.
However, one line of that has bothered me lately. It’s the part about the fully redeemed marriage.
We do live in a post-crisis marriage that somehow, by God’s grace, has been redeemed. And we are still married. And we still manage to sleep in the same bed and not kill one another.
But I never want any bio or blog post or talk I give to ever make it sound like this post-crisis marriage is easy. In fact it’s really, really hard.
I’m not sure a lot of post-crisis married couples (at least the ones that have been public about their crises) are very transparent with this. When’s the last time you heard a Christian speaker or public person who is known for their crisis or marriage redemption story be open with the struggles they face now? When’s the last time we heard a “recovered” sex or drug addict talk publicly about the current mistakes he or she makes in recovery or the last time we read about the used-to-be-sinful talk about their current journey through struggle.
I know I haven’t been all that transparent about the current state of my marriage.
It’s embarrassing, for one thing. We should have it all together, right? There shouldn’t be anger or dissent or intense disagreement when it comes to parenting and money. There should not be fights that rise to a near scream and a squaring of shoulders and of verbal boundaries crossed you never thought you’d cross. There should not be words wielded like swords and there should not be arrows flung that pierce the heart. And this should not happen every day.
And it’s scary to be publicly transparent. The Internet is a rough and tumble place. Because, what would we do to them (what would you do to me?) if they were honest, really honest, about what goes on at home? How would we crucify them? The web is a horrifying place to be honest.
My marriage is full of imperfections. We are selfish and we are prideful people who are overly offended and prone to anger. That’s me. That’s my husband.
But I can’t say that. Because nine years ago my marriage was fixed and somehow I feel the pressure to maintain a sense of homeostasis in the public eye because of that.
But the truth is, all marriages, whether post-crisis or not, go through seasons. And the other truth is some people fight more than others. We’ve always argued, from the time we were dating until yesterday we have been fighters. We are first-born, selfish, stubborn people who have experiential data to back up our points of view. But it’s hard for me to be open with that because of the backlash that might will occur.
So when you read my bios, when you pop over from twitter and read a post I write and somehow find my one hundred or four hundred word about-me that talks about my redeemed marriage, please know that it’s not perfect. It’s far from that. In fact, it’s a struggle each day to love well and like wading through mud to suppress our own selfish inclinations. Each step toward Jesus and toward grace is harder than the last and we fall in to bed at the end of each day with a sigh, that yes-we-made-it-through-another-day-barely-intact.
This is honesty. In fact it’s more than honesty, it’s transparency. (Because they are not the same thing)
And I write to process my life. The sheer fact that I have felt I cannot write about this is why I’ve been stunted in my creativity the past few years. This is why I’ve been encumbered by a thick wall of attic-insulation in my mind. It’s almost like I haven’t been able to hear myself think.
But no more.
I’m creaking the door open.