I recently started reading Donald Miller’s new book, Scary Close. In a way, I’m a Donald Miller fangirl, at least as much as an introverted, down-to-earth momma would be.
I mean, it’s not like that screaming, crying, wearing a t-shirt with his face on it kind of fandom. More like the kind of excitement you feel when you’ve met another soul who gets it.
Scary Close is sort of ripping me apart. Have you ever had one of those times when you think you’ve really matured, and then you read or witness something that reminds you how much of a mess you still are?
That’s what this book is doing for me. It’s not as bad as it sounds, though, now that I read it back to myself. This kind of heart-wrecking is actually a good thing; a reminder of our own humanity.
Miller’s writing has always struck me as the type of authenticity I want to offer my readers, but this book has been different for me. Most of his writing leaves me feeling uplifted, but this one is heavy. It’s so real; it makes me ache.
His struggle with intimacy is so much like my own.
Back in college, I got a clerical job in the Registrar’s Office, and I met Christine. She was only a bit older than me, but I could tell she had years of wisdom on me. She made me feel like my mess was okay to share. Sometimes I wonder if she went home exhausted after working with me. She invited me to be real, but also spoke some hard truths into my heart. Her friendship spurred me on to find the truth I was seeking and to become a whole person again.
For my birthday, Christine gave me a journal made with natural fiber paper. I loved writing on that paper, and I filled the journal from front to back. It’s hard for me to read at times, but it is also an incredible testament to the depths from which I rose.
One entry always strikes me.
“I want something to be REAL. I want to let go and have real adventure.” I look back at that girl and still hurt for her. She was desperate and scared and completely at a loss.
Toward the end of my freshman year, I realized that I had been playing a part for so long, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was so broken from my past that I felt completely unlovable, so I hid behind a persona I thought was more likable than me.
But along the way, there were people who invited me to open up and own my wreckage. And so, if I offer you nothing else, I want to invite you to be real.
Nothing is too messy for Jesus to redeem, and nothing is to messy to share here. I’m not great a small-talk, but man, I can listen to your story. I revel in authenticity, so bring it on.