I saw a picture this week of a boy and I naked in the sunshine when I was 19 years old. He was just my friend, we were never intimate in any way besides our hearts. I loved the boy and he loved me and we were a product of the hippie movement. We sat brown as berries in the sunshine in Eldorado Canyon, smiling broadly. The strangest part of this story is my Dad found the picture in a suitcase in his storage locker. “I found some nudie pictures” he said laughing. “Do you want me to throw them away?” I laughed a bit and said “No I better see those.” Once upon a time I would have been embarrassed to have my dad see me naked. But when you are 61 years old and your dad is 89, it takes the sting out of everything once forbidden and cloaked.
The other side of the story is in the suitcase I found lots of pictures of my first love. One of them was he and my friend with their naked bums to the sunshine. Laughing…. I am still in contact with that boy (now a married man with kiddos older than we were when we laughed and loved in those pictures in the canyon) and I asked him if he and his amazing wife (I really like that girl he married) would like some of the pictures I found. I asked him this after I took a long nostalgic look at the girl I once was, oh so many years ago and shredded the pictures of the boy and I and the two boys bare naked laying in the tall grass of the canyon that was our home one summer day. I never imagined that boy (my grown married friend) would want to see those pictures again. But he did. I had to apologize and explain that I would send all the other pics with my blessings but the naked pictures were gone. As gone as the time we shared in the tall grass, living off the land and learning that in a very real way we could not trust each other with our nakedness. It’s one thing to share a naked body, it’s another to share your naked soul. The naked soul is the treasure and the naked body should be the prize. In the time of our youth, the naked body was a commodity, a vessel and a power. We didn’t understand the naked soul was the deep treasure. It was the gift. I saw clearly the vulnerability of a young girl exploring her worth and value. I was not one to know that, not for many years.
Nakedness is trust. It is exposing to the elements ones heart and soul. It is speaking honestly about your frailities, exposing the underbelly of vulnerabilities. Trusting that the person for whom you are naked with will love you.
I also learned that everyone you are naked with, whether in body or in soul, takes a piece of you with them. That you can be very fragmented in your life because you gave, carelessly I might add, so much of you away. It is great wisdom to know you are a gift. There will be someone who will know this. They will quietly stay when the fragments don’t allow wholeness. They will not push or take. They will wait and they will walk and lay beside you while you weep. The tears will heal the holes. The gentle touch will not wound, but soothe.