Faith Reflections

Open a Vein

“Writing is really quite simple; all you have to do is sit down at your typewriter and open a vein.” Red Smith
Open a vein . . . quite simple?  I think not.  Painful . . . most definitely.  Messy . . . usually. In the days of early medicine when people would be under the daze of a high fever, doctors would open their veins to bleed out the “bad blood” so that the person might heal.
Do successful writers open a vein?  Do writers who resonate with people bleed out?  In doing so, do writers heal? Does the opening of the vein benefit more the writer or for the reader?
It seems often that Christians don’t want to bleed.  There doesn’t seem to be much blood-letting in the Church these days.  Few people speak honestly of hurts and pains.  Even fewer people confess their failures or the temptations that they struggle to shake.  We put a lot of work into making sure no one knows we bleed.  How tacky and weak to open a vein in the Church.
But in private, oh, do we bleed.  We gush.  Having worked so hard to hide it from others, by the time night makes its appearance we can no longer hold it in.   How scary and frightening to bleed alone. To wonder if it will ever stop.  To fear that someone will see the stains or that perhaps one time in the light of day you will not be able to stop the flow. And then your secret will be out.  You bleed.
Then one Sunday you stand up timidly in your pew piercing the quiet of the sanctuary with your presence. You slowly roll up one your sleeves revealing bloody bandages covering wounds.  Without saying a word or meeting a glance, you tear the bandages off and open the vein.  You pour out to this community, this gathering of people who have no visible scars or blood stains.  When you finish, a young woman stands up in the back and rolls up her sleeve revealing the truth.  An older gentlemen stands up behind you, removes his tie and unbuttons his shirt to reveal the bandage across his heart.  One by one they stand.  They open the vein.  In that moment with all of our wounds exposed and our pain gushing from each wound, we see what church should be.
Who will stand and bleed first?

3 Comments

  • revabi

    I really appreciated you sending this in for the wednesday festival. It reminded me of when I was in Clinical Pastoral Education, and in the small groups. I remembered quite clearly the day I finally opened myself up and there was all my guts and blood everywhere, and yet no one rejected me. God bless you in openeing up and writing this.
    Welcome to the revgalblogpals

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