1 : fully apprehended
My eldest daughter A read a book called Understood Betsy not long ago. I read about it over here and requested it from the library for her. When she finished it and I asked her if she liked it, she told me, "It might be my favorite book ever, Mom." This child, who reads an average of more than three books weekly, is not quick to deem a book her favorite. I mentally added it to my to-read list. And one thing that recovering from surgery affords you is time to read (once the pain medications aren't needed quite so regularly). While I loved the book, from its writing style to its characters to the character development, what I want to ponder here for a moment is the concept of being understood because I've been learning a lot about whether I really want to be "fully apprehended" or not.
I think most of us would be quick to say that we want to be understood. We want others to know us, whether they are our spouse, our friends, our children. But do we truly want to be fully known? I ask this question of you - and myself - during a time when I've been forced to be a bit more real than I've really like. Surgery will do that to you.
I want my husband to see me as beautiful, desirable, capable, loving, a good cook, funny, etc. I do not want him to see me laid up in the bed, hobbling around the house, doubled over in pain, weepy with discouragement. Ahhh, but he has witnessed all of this and more in recent days. And you know what? He loves me still. I do think he knows more about me than he did a week or ten days ago. I think he understands me better than he did before we had to walk this road. But I'd admit it wasn't fun. It wasn't fun to have a friend sweep my kitchen floor, vacuum popcorn from my rugs and venture into my basement to start a load of laundry. I don't know about you, but my basement is not a place that is visitor-ready. I wasn't thrilled to throw those masks to the ground.
In thinking about this, I realized that I live much of my life like an orphan. I carry around a backpack full of the things I can do for people to make them like or love me. And when that backpack is empty - because I am empty - I am terrified that their love for me will vanish. I am fearful that when I am fully understood, I will be fully rejected. I see my backpack full of gifts and skills as my tickets to entry, not as my inheritance from my heavenly father.
In Understood Betsy, Betsy's understanding of herself is shaped strongly by those around her. When she is surrounded by fearful, timid people, she takes on these traits. But when sent to live with a family whose members are each comfortable in their own skins, she learns to stop and listen to her own mind, to question her heart before acting.
So I'm left with questions, not answers to what it means to be understood. Am I surrounding myself with others who understand themselves? Am I working to be understood even within myself so that I offer my children support and encouragement in learning who they really are? Am I a loving mother no matter what my children do or say? Can they take their masks off with me? Am I turning often enough to the One who fully apprehends not just who I am, but who I was made to be, who I will become?