The worst thing about writing a memoir? It's not the sustained effort of the writing itself, nor the emotional depths that must be probed, nor even the thought that no one will care at the end of the day. It's that, by revealing yourself to those who do care, they won't like you.
Is this not our greatest fear ... well, after poverty and ill-health, and world war and environmental degradation and social chaos? Okay, so not maybe our greatest fear. But great enough that we hide ourselves from one another each and every day.
Carl Jung said individuation does not mean that we don't wear masks, but that we learn to choose the right mask for the right occasion. Sort of like knowing when to wear your yellow bow tie, and when to open the top two buttons of your shirt.
The fact that we wear masks at all, that we feel the need to manage our persona in the world, suggests we lack confidence that the world will receive us as we are, that people will like us. The more layers I remove from my priestly persona, to reveal the flesh and blood mortal behind the mask, the more I fear I will prove unlikeable. And THAT leads to an even greater fear--that I am unlovable.
The Christian story counters that we are indeed loved--by the One who created us, by the One who died for us, and by the One who dwells in our hearts. This is why we call it Good News. I trust every day that this is true. As I bang away at this story about my life in the church I need to know that I am offering myself, not to the demons of judgement, but to the angels of mercy.