So, do you remember the days of the overhead projector?  If you do, you’ll surely remember the 3M Company.  While known mostly for its famous brand of scotch tape, 3M was the leading manufacturer of the overhead transparency.  You know, that clear, 8 ½ x 11 thin sheet of plastic that would stick in the copy machine every time you tried to transfer copy onto the page.  Seemingly, there was no better tool at the time to teach from.  The transparency lent itself to an interactive teaching style whereby the audience could get a visual representation of your thoughts as you penned them on the “overhead page.”  For the longest time I’ve thought that this clear sheet of plastic was one of life’s great illustrations of what it looked like to live a life of transparency; not a “see through” life but a life that others could peer into.  Personally, I’ve sought to live a fairly transparent life characterized by being open with my thoughts, seemingly willing to share the facts of my life with relative ease as I’ve allowed others to have a look inside.  And then I was called out recently (in a good way) with this statement offered up by a caring friend, “You know there is a big difference between transparency and vulnerability.  Ah, one of life’s “ah ha” moments. 

So…I’ve been thinking on this lately and looking inward a bit to test the “ah ha“.  Sure enough I believe I am one of those who is fairly open with my thoughts, ever willing to share the facts of my life while letting other’s get a peek inside.  But as I’ve dug in a bit I’ve come to see the “peek” has been somewhat of a “controlled peek”; controlled in that I’ve been forthcoming with the facts but stingy with sharing my feelings, including to those closest to me.  Oh, I can easily justify or rationalize why this is.  I mean isn’t it true that sharing the facts or thoughts of our lives comes with a much lower risk than putting our feelings out there on the ledge of vulnerability?  Isn’t it true that to share our feelings means we have to come out from behind the curtain of pretend?  That very place where we believe we find so much comfort and where we so adeptly mask over the fact that life really isn’t “all good all the time.”  So how do we get there?  How do we manage the risk as we inch our way towards greater degrees of vulnerability?  For sure this is not a “flip a switch” type of transformation.  It does seem however that much of the answer can be found in seeing clearly the value in doing life in the safety of authentic community one to another.   To put back the real in realness and simply be on the outside what we are on the inside.  Perhaps a quote from the world of entrepreneurship is appropriate here as well, “to risk nothing is to risk everything.”  Peace.