Written on January 28th, 2007 by Shawn Anthony
We are all born naked. We rush youth trying to become old. Then we beat time into delusion in our vain attempts to stay young. We refuse to die with grace and dignity. We prefer crowds to mirrors. We frame discussion in the past or future, forever avoiding the present. We are more ‘other’ than we are ‘ourselves’. We insist on defining ourselves by things we do, rather than who we really are when we are completely alone with the self in the dark.
We are the perpetual man & woman in the Garden of Eden, trembling in fear at the mere sight of our naked selves, and doing our very best to hide the nakedness with ridiculous fig leaves. We don’t fool anyone! We don’t even fool ourselves! God still calls out for us, by name, even though He already knows where we are hiding.
Kim sported fig leaves of her own. She was an honors graduate of the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bartlett Marketing Partners, Inc., and a very successful entrepreneur. She wore designer business suits and the most exquisite of fashionable accessories. She also sported just enough blond hair dye to conceal time’s foreboding tracks.
Her fourteen-hour work days concluded with a tired click of her garage door remote and a lovingly ritualistic tucking in of her deep blue 2005 Jaguar XJ. Her Jaguar XJ rested for but a few peaceful hours in an oversized two-bay garage lining the cul-de-sac of a gated community in the Philly suburbs.
In spite of her American success story, Kim found herself struggling with an aging process that couldn’t be halted. She could, of course, continue her attempts to cosmetically hide it from others, but this did not relieve the personal and deep emotional effects time dealt her. She was still completely aware of what was occurring beneath her thinly decorated surface. Her long and stressful work hours helped little, but she could not stop. She needed to work long to buy much. Temporary happiness is, after all, better than zero happiness, or so she rationalized.
Kim also struggled with extreme loneliness. All the money in the world could not change her personal reality. Her parents were gone and she had no brothers or sisters. Sometimes, and in spite of the loneliness, Kim considered her lack of siblings to be a blessing in disguise. Burying one’s parents was difficult enough. She was at least ensured of the impossibility of any repeat performances of the dreaded and expensive event.
She never married. Her career came first, always. Perhaps, this too was for the best. Intimacy was not a virtue in Kim’s world. It was wrought with the danger of investments never returned. In Kim’s world it was better to be alone then to risk being left utterly alone.
So, Kim continued on, moving in place, loosing herself in career and crowd. She refused the mirror, save the regular glances to check her decorative disguise. The illusion was, after all, much more comfortable than the nakedness lurking just beneath the surface of her life. Still, she was not happy. Still, she longed for internal rest & peace. She longed for something to make her whole. She silently cried out for it daily but never …
We are all born naked. It’s true. None of us have to die in such a helpless spiritual condition. In fact, none of us do.