Thursday, August 16, 2007
I'll never forget the first time I heard these words. It was my sophomore year of college. I was sitting in one of my many accounting classes. It was being used to describe the "fairness" of business transactions. I didn't realize I would be using it years later to describe myself.
As Americans, our culture teaches us that arm's length is our "personal space". If someone gets too close when conversing with us, we feel as though our personal space has been invaded. We back up. We end the conversation. We want our personal space back.
This also applies to my life. It applies to the trust I am willing to give to others. If I keep people at arm's length, they won't really know who I am. I won't have to open up about the true me. They won't be able to know too much. But most of all, I won't allow myself to trust too much. There have been many situations in my past that have helped form these feelings. I could probably write a book.
Keeping people at arm's length means they won't get too close to me. There will be no chance that they will get into my heart, then disappear as quickly as they came. I confess this, knowing this is something I want so dearly to change. For as long as I can remember, not many people in my life have remained. Those who have, I love dearly, but for reasons out of my control, most of the time, they left.
Death, divorce, relocation - the leaving was always negative for me. It created anger, sadness, hopelessness, emptiness. Over the past few years, I have realized I was blessed to have these people in my life at all. The relationships I had with them made an impact on me. Changed my life. I have realized I want to turn the negative energy to positive. I want to be thankful they were there at all.
Although this is a continuing struggle in my life, I try very hard to trust others, to let others in. I will catch myself at times, almost unconsciously, putting my guard up. I am thankful I have become aware. I know, sometimes, I am also guilty of keeping God at arm's length. Not letting Him wrap his loving arms around me. I strive to do better.
I am thankful to be surrounded by such a wonderful family and so many wonderful friends...and a merciful God.