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Living Life Wide Open

November 19, 2006

Not possible!

People can’t handle it.

I’ve noticed throughout my life that most folks…I’d go as far to say practically everyone…is prone to live life with a little bit of an “ace in the hole.” What I mean is that there is a bit of duplicity in everyone. There is a bit or piece of your life that you “hold back” from plain view … or it is a side of you that only a few intimate friends know. Everybody has a skeleton hanging in a closet somewhere.

Most folks do not live transparent lives … simply because they can’t. Living a transparent life opens one up to all sorts of scrutiny, judgement and innuendo. A double life is a better way to live because that is more convenient not only for the “one living it” but also for those who so greatly enjoy the art of rock throwing. If you have the double life going on, observers can spend countless hours intrigued by what you “might” be doing. Transparency takes all the fun away from the audience.

Growing up Polk County and with my mother, we all recognized that most of the people we lived around had a little something going on … on the side. It could have been gambling, or drinking, or drugs, or extra-marital affairs or it might have been something like chewing or smoking tobacco.

I remember once when I was a kid a group of teenagers got caught shop-lifting. They were all from “well-to-do” families and it was a shock to “observers” that these “good” kids did something bad. After that, we would hear all sorts of things that these kids were involved in … from pre-marital sex to drug dealing to homosexuality. Some left town — others drew into the shell of living a double life — some became addicts for life.

My mom told us — “don’t sneak!” “There is no need to sneak because sooner or later, you’ll get caught.”

So for the most part, we lived life in plain view. That was incredibly uncomfortable — for other people. I remember friends telling me on my senior trip while they sat around the pool sipping on pina coladas, “it’s okay, we’re out of town…no one will know.”

What they didn’t realize is that I could have been sipping on anything I wanted at home — I had no one to sneak from. But I didn’t choose to drink.

The same thing went for most everything I could have … and sometimes did do. I’d just do it … in spite of public scrutiny.

I thought it was just me and maybe my sisters who had this approach to life until I was about 30-years old and I met up with a fella’ who knew a cousin of mine. I knew her to be a bit wild … but she seemed to handle it well. This man was talking about working with her and he said, “She’s a great gal. But she’s got one problem. She lives life wide open and people just can’t handle that. We tell her all the time, she needs to learn to sneak … because that’s what people do.”

I said, “Well … sneaking is not a family tradition for us. I thought it was always just my immediate family … but maybe it is spread around more than that.”

He said, “Well, you’ll not catch her pretending to be something she’s not.”

So the question is, I guess, what is she?

Wide OPEN!

Is that a good way to live? Is it really an honest way to live?

Now not everyone you live and work around is an “observer.” Some people do just muddle through and never know the “down-low” on what’s going on around them. When they do stumble upon a tidbit of how things really are — they gasp and say, “How’d I miss that.”

As cynical as I am, I admit that I have said that a few times in my life when I’ve stumbled upon a “tidbit.”  But normally, I don’t stumble upon the “downlow” — I usually run in to it straight on.

What the fella’ that worked with my cousin said had some merit. She could have saved herself a lot of calloused looks and stone-bruising if she had lived her life more secretively or in the dark. But alas, a secret life is a life of bondage!

And who wants to be enslaved!

A favorite movie of mine is “First Knight.” Richard Gere plays Sir Lancelot and he lives life “wide open.” He fences for money and game with anyone brave enough to step to the challenge — even those who are twice as big and strong. One man asks him, “How did you learn to fence so well?”

He gives him a few tips and finally says, “You must not care whether you live or die.”

And that is the only way that I can see for a person to be able to live life wide open.

You know, not all of life lived that way has to be centered around the sin and evil that can be experienced. The same principle could (and should) go for a life lived wide open for Jesus Christ.

I once heard a man say, “I used to try and ‘front’ … live according to the crowd … live a lie. But it came to be that soon enough I had forgotten who I was … I couldn’t keep up with the lies. And so I stopped lying … and decided to just be me.”

That sounded quite freeing to me. Living life “wide open” as ME.

Of late, my mother has pointed out that I’ve “lost me.”


She says I seem so unhappy and thinks it is because I am not being WHOever I am supposed to be.

{psssst…I think she has a point.}

Over the past six months, I have been suffering from a definite identity crisis. My doctor pointed it out too.  He said, “There is something amiss in your life. You have no joy…no enjoyment. YOU MUST start enjoying your life because the sadness is going to take it’s toll.”

WOW!  I knew this. But I guess I had hoped it wasn’t obvious.


Have some fun!  

Live a life!!!

Wide Open…if you can!

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