I went to a memorial service today for a person to whom I was once very close, but from whom I had become alienated over the last few years. Her sudden death gave me a lot to think about.
I am a very introverted person, and prefer to keep most of my deepest feelings to myself. In the past I have opened myself up fully to at most two or three friends. In the end it was too frightening for me to sustain that level of intimacy, and I eventually erected emotional walls to "protect" myself from these people, even though I had no reason to believe that they would hurt or betray me.
Our existence as human beings can be very lonely at times. We both crave and fear true intimacy. We long to be emotionally "naked" with our loved ones but are too afraid to appear before them without the costumes and masks that keep us at a safe distance, lest we be rejected for some reason.
It is especially good for Christians to have someone to whom we are totally accountable for our thoughts and behavior. If we are unable to be completely open with another person, it is much more difficult to be honest with ourselves and with God.
I am setting a goal for myself to shed some of the protective layers within which I have hidden myself, at least in my two closest relationships. My fear of betrayal and pain has also kept me from experiencing the true love and joy that I need to survive. This is a price that I am no longer willing to pay.