Today I am struck by authenticity. Or maybe I should say I am struck by the desire to live an authentic life; to be authentic to those I love and to have their authentic selves become a part of who I am. We spend so much of our lives in hiding. We spend so much time pretending everything is fine and that we are survivors. When was the last time you asked someone how they were doing and then really listened to their answer? My guess is it was longer ago than you thought. Sometimes I’ll admit, I ask the question, expecting the same simple “Fine, you?” answer…And when I actually find someone who wants to tell me how their day really is, I get annoyed, frustrated, confused…All of the above. Don’t these people realize I have things to do? I have people to see and places to go and a list of things that need to get checked off? And then it hits me…

…These people, these people are the authentic ones. They are the ones who are not afraid to love a little deeper, to trust a little more, to be a little more concerned with other people than they are with themselves. And then I am humbled and I feel bad for trying to stifle their uniqueness and their ability and desire to seek out the world and truly live it.

I know so many times in my life I am inauthentic-I am fake. I show people just enough of myself to make sure they like me, but not enough to let them understand me…And then, for reasons beyond my own comprehension, people slowly find their way in to my life. Someone refuses to let ‘fine’ be a good enough answer and I suddenly have to tell them the truth; that sometimes I’m sad, that I get frustrated with my job and the way it taints my image of my Church, that I wonder if I am doing enough, that I have dreams and desires that are bigger and brighter and more far out there than even I believe is possible some days…that I am a bundle of paradoxes and that I am someone who loves deeply and believes in something bigger than myself. My authentic self is nothing short of a bundle of paradoxes and riddles, nothing short of something straight out of a mystery novel.

To those that really know me, you know who you are. Thank you for not settling for ‘fine.’ To those who want to know me better, don’t settle. I promise to do the same for you.

Who are you really? Please don’t be afraid of yourself. You are amazing and special and created for a reason. You are loved and you are love. There is no one else in the world who can do what you are here to do. Be brave, dear friends. Be brave. Authenticity is scary, but being inauthentic should be even more terrifying!