The Twilight Zone

There is a twilight zone in our hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves-our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and our drives-large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness. This is a very good thing. We will always remain partially hidden to ourselves.
Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. We will never fully know the significance of our presence in the lives of our friends. That’s a grace, a grace that calls us not only to humility, but to a deep trust in those who love us. It is in the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born.Β  ~ Henri Nouwen
I’ve laughed with friends, prayed with friends, cried with friends, broken bread with friends.
I’ve been blessed with friends who truly love me.
I’ve valued their wit and wisdom, their insight and intellect, their compassion and companionship.
These are the sweet gifts of joy and grace in friendship.
Still, I’ve always found trust to be a risky business.
I’ve been hesitant to open myself to the possibility of rejection.
For too long, I let mildew grow along the damp corridors of my heart where I cried in secret.
I’m gradually learning to place true value on the insights my friends have about me.
I always thought I knew myself so well.
What could anyone tell me about me that I didn’t already know?
Nouwen is right. We are partially hidden from ourselves.
I’m grateful for those who have, and those who will, venture into the twilight zones of my heart and teach me from their unique vantage point.
It’s a different type of grace.
It’s the grace of a friend who sees the bad I’ve trid to bury and the good I’ve lost sight of. It’s the gift of a friend who can see both the skeleton and the coins in the treasure box.
It is in the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

38 thoughts on “The Twilight Zone”

  1. My “live” community doesn’t look/see/share much in this way but it is a very vital. We are so often our worst critic that listening to others is many times better than hearing our self. Great post and love the photo – go figure!

    1. Judi – I’m so glad you highlighted that. I made the point, but I don’t think I made it strongly enough. Most of us see most (not all – I think we have blind spots) of our weaknesses more clearly than we do our strengths.
      Thanks my friend, gardener of the heart!
      ~ Debbie

  2. Great words, Debbie. Could it be that true friends know us better than we know ourselves? If so, we should pay close attention to their words of investment into our lives. This, of course as you say, means being open books. Hard to read it when it’s closed.

    On a lighter note… now I can’t get the theme song out of my head… and no, not Rod’s. “Am I slipping into the twi…” πŸ™‚

    1. dear mt –
      For so long, I cultivated the face of the unreadable, as if it were a virtue rather than a virus.
      I certainly believe that friends can see things in us, both strengths and weaknesses, that ‘remain in the shadow of consciousness’.
      It’s grace that calls us both to humility and trust.

      Always singing along with you, and surprisingly often, it’s even the same song!
      ~ Debbie

  3. “It is in the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born.”

    My goodness! This is achingly beautiful… Another writer to add to the must read list.

    This is so true and it is often hard to open up enough to find out what a friend has to say. It is hard to let people in. You remind me of how vital it is to do it anyway.

    just. do. it.

    XO Jen

    1. Dear Jen-
      I think Henri Nouwen is someone who would really resonate with you. A co-worker at the Mental Health Clinic where i was doing my internship gave me my first Nouwen book 1978. I’ve loved him more and more over the years.
      I’ve spent most of my life as a closed book. I’ve come to realize how much I’ve missed out on because I wasn’t willing to share myself. Pride, fear, and a misguided sense of selflessness made me into more of a counselor than a true friend to my friends.
      Changing that one,
      ~ Debbie

    1. Jen –
      The tornadoes were quite a ways north but we’re in the midst of a server thunderstorm warning – starting to hail. I expect I’ll loose the internet any minute.
      Thanks for checking.

  4. Terrific post Debbie, thank you! Good friends, truly good friends are difficult to find. When we find them, we should treasure them.
    Beautiful words of wisdom.
    God bless you Debbie.


  5. OK, yet another great post.
    “It’s the gift of a friend who can see both the skeleton and the coins in the treasure box.”

    Awesomely awesome. Friends ARE happiness, and yet, there is risky business. My heart goes in OPEN OPEN OPEN, and i’ve been bitten like (it sounds to me) you have as well.

    Gnat bites … friends are worth many gold coins, many treasure chest. Joy and some tears too. All good. XO Mel

    1. melis –
      You are a wonder – so open and trusting.
      I know you’ve been battered and bitten but you continue to put yourself out there.
      I think that’s pretty amazing.
      your friend,

  6. You’ve connected grace and truth in this in a way that I really like. He graces us with truth, even when it isn’t something we want to see. Maybe especially then, it’s grace because we are trying so hard to bury the ‘bad’.

    Beautifully said and wonderfully phrased.

    1. Heidi – Thank you for seeing the coins amidst the bones. I don’t know how you keep doing it, but you do and I’m eternally grateful.
      ~ Debbie

      1. Nothing in my life has ever been so intuitive or easier, Debbie. As anyone who reads your heart on these pages would agree, you are worth getting to know better.

    1. Hello dear jelillie!
      I’ve struggle with becoming defensive. I’ve struggling with observations that are positive. Hard to win with me, huh? πŸ˜‰
      I’m learning to try to listen carefully to both – with discernment.
      The more I respect another person’s walk, the more open I am about who I am, the more I have the opportunity to learn.
      I hope to be in a constant state of flux that looks more and more like the original intent when the pattern was cut. πŸ˜€
      ~ Debbie

  7. This is splendid, insightful, and thought provoking. “It is in the twilight zones of our hearts where true friendships are born.” Yea, true friendship does come from within.

    Thanks a lot for sharing, Debbie. God bless you

    1. Noel –
      Yes and true friendship comes from letting others in – harder than it sounds for some of us.
      Thanks for reading and writing,
      ~ Debbie

    1. Joss –
      I’ve always been much more willing to give than to receive.
      Minimizes the risk. It also minimized the relationships.
      I’m a slow learner, but I’m getting there. πŸ˜‰

  8. Oh, so beautiful Debbie

    I love this line:
    It’s the grace of a friend who sees the bad I’ve trid to bury and the good I’ve lost sight of.

    God Bless

    1. Thanks, Susie.
      It really is both, isn’t it?
      I’m incredibly private and fairly hard to read. I think that’s due both to my counseling background and my own lack of ease in my skin.
      Over the past few years, I’ve become so much more open.
      It’s something I should have tried much sooner!
      grace to you, dear Susie,
      ~ Debbie

  9. hmmm, so lovely. Seems I’ve run up against friends more than once that see more of me than I see. I’ve not read that one by Nouwen, but as usual, I like the way he says it. And you’re right up there with him, my friend.

    1. Debby –
      The joy of this blog for me is that it requires me to do so much reading! πŸ˜€
      I think we’re about 40 miles from a library, but the internet and the books that I have stuffed in every nook and cranny help. I need to go bargain Kindle book shopping (.99)!
      Thanks for you words and for your friendship,

  10. Hi Debbie,

    Another beautiful, elegant, insightful post. That does it. I demand a coffee-table book of your posts! Don’t make me go all Jersey on youse!

    Let’s start a project for you at Kickstarter and get everyone else to fund you, what do you say? I saw a segment on 60 minutes that half of their projects end up fully funded.

    I’m not affiliated with them and haven’t tried it myself, but I think the world needs Two Minutes of Grace. I’m serious! Let’s do this, girl!

    Virtual Hugs,

    Ruth πŸ™‚

    1. Ruth –
      Wow! Threatening to go all Jersey on me!
      You’re funny and kind!
      Thank you for your steady encouragement.
      I can’t imagine kickstart would be interested but I appreciate your enthusiasm more than you know!
      Sending hugs right back at ya’ll!
      (trying to go Texas on you but I’m not very good at it)

  11. This is so beautiful, Debbie–both Henri’s words, and your own. I never heard it described that way before, a “Twilight Zone”, and this offers a more positive connotation–I quite like it! I especially love your line about a true friend seeing both the skeleton and the coins in the treasure box–that is indeed rich. My sense is that you’re one of those folks “everyone” wants to be friends with–how blessed are they who earn your trust.

    Ummm–if I want to borrow (with due credit) those words “skeleton and coins in treasure box” for a future poem, would you mind awfully much??? God bless you, dear Sis–forever Caddo S.G.

    1. Hello Caddo!
      You never need to ask, my words are yours for the taking. πŸ˜€
      I’m sure you’ll weave them together in a most intriguing and lovely way!
      True friends are an incredible treasure, more cherished because of their rarity!
      God bless you, too, my new dear friend,

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