When you’re wearing a thin veneer

a thin veneer - PJ

Life can pare us down to the bone. All that remains is a thin veneer of capability.

We can plaster on a smile but it doesn’t always hide heartache within.

Our souls can wear a semblance of normality yet shield a great deal of pain on the inside.

I was reminded of feeling this way recently when accompanying my husband to a hospital waiting room.

Such places provide a glimpse of the struggles others go through, although the evidence isn’t always evident.

We sit, trying to be patient patients in an environment guaranteed to provoke into anxiety, and you don’t have to be the one waiting to be seen to feel it.

We tend to cast covert glances around the room while being careful not to catch an eye. So much is given away by the windows of our soul, isn’t it?

Because who wants their concerns flagged up for all to see? Who can cope with a stranger’s curiosity?

Most of us just want to conceal our stuff, our inner baggage. Hide our woundedness from others.

How do I cope when life gets hard?ย I think a lot. Too much, sometimes. I cry. I pray. I read God’s word. I journal and I write poetry…

A thin veneer

She watches thin veneer curling away at edges

panels pared down to chine-bone, chipped

away by ravages of years and time

Hardly a soul here now, barely a breath

to stir antiseptic air made stale by fear

in this orthopaedic waiting room

Anxiety stalks these walkways where hushed

voices betray a reverence for medicine

Eyes flit to ceiling marred by blind hanging

by a thread, with silted panes protruding

beneath, clouding out blue sky, limiting

horizon for those seeking some escape

So we wait, reluctant clock-watchers of the hours

and see, with incredulity, how mere minutes

have passed since last we glanced at glass

Spirits sag in sympathy with weary bodies

wearing but a thin veneer of patience here


One thing I do know with complete certainty.. God loves you and me.

Jesus came to liberate us from inner loneliness, fear and anxiety. To open us up to a transformed way of thinking and being.

He offers us a way to break free from fear.ย To be so secure in His love, so changed by His grace that we no longer need to hide ourselves away.

We can live an open-hearted, giving and receiving kind of life when we turn to Him, become redeemed, restored and refuelled for wherever the journey may take us.

And those veneers we wear will gradually strip away. We can be real. We can be free. We can be all God intends us to be by His grace.

a thin veneer PJ pin

14 thoughts on “When you’re wearing a thin veneer

  1. Ahhh, to be real, free, and all God intends us to be by His grace. Still longing with you, my friend. I love the photo with the saying. I hope your husband is ok? Blessings and hugs to you!

    • It’s an ache that never goes away, isn’t it, Trudy? We live in the hope that one day we truly will break free and become all that God intends us to be. Thank you for your understanding and prayers. My husband is now one step closer to having his debilitating back problem treated surgically. Another assessment awaits him in the near future (we hope!) and things will proceed from thereon. Blessings and hugs returned to you, dear friend. Xx

  2. Oh, how I could relate to that think veneer and the anxieties of waiting for someone else to predict your destiny. Thank you for the reminder that God has set us free and wants us to live in that freedom and grace.
    Hope your family is ok.

    • Hi Janis. Thanks for letting me know this resonated with you. We all seem to spend much of our lives waiting for things to happen, don’t we? Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us without resources and His grace and goodness are always manifest. Yes, we are fine, thanks. Just needing to wait for the next stage of assessment and exploration of future treatment options. Bless you for caring! ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  3. It’s so easy to wear a veneer. “I’m fine.” Been there. Done it for decades. It’s only as I near fifty that I’m seeing the cage a veneer has created. When we hide behind fear, or behind how we want others to see us, we lose out on the opportunity for genuine fellowship, authentic connections. Tearing away the veneer is risky, but when done before the right people, it’s the best thing we can do. And, when we do that before God? We experience His love in ways we never could before. Thanks for this post, Joy. It resonated with me!

    • Jeanne, I’m glad you could relate to this post, but I also feel sad to hear how you have lived as I have done for many years. You’re right, it encloses us in a cage of our own making. And the veneers we wear don’t fool those who love and know us best for long, do they? These days I try to stay true to how I feel and what I may need, although we require discernment and wisdom in knowing what to share with whom and when to do so.
      It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. But oh how we can resist doing so when pride gets in the way! I love the way you speak about being real before God and how it enables us to “experience His love in ways we never could before.” So true! Thank you for sharing your insights and enriching the conversation here. Bless you, friend.

  4. Beautifully said – I can so relate to that sense of only just holding it all together – that thin veneer and I think most women can. But for Jesus where would we be. Thanks for your encouragement today. What a gift your poetry is.

    • Hi Tracey. Yes, women do seem to be especially adept at “just holding it all together.” Maybe some of it is because we’re wired (or expected?) to multi-task. Yet all that frantic juggling can leave us feeling ‘less than’ and inadequate when we make comparison with how others appear to manage. On the surface all may seem fine, but underneath? Deep inside many of us struggle to cope well with the weight of expectations we (and others) place on ourselves. I echo your words, “But for Jesus where would we be?” Where indeed, friend? It makes us ever more thankful for grace. Thanks very much for visiting and sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate it and hope you’ll stop by again soon. Bless you.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Dolly. The ‘thin veneer’ in the poem doesn’t say very flattering things about the state of one of our NHS clinics but the main focus of the post is something most of us can relate to by experience. I’m glad you’ve found something here to speak to your soul, my friend. Bless you for your prayers. I really value and appreciate them. The wheels grind slowly in our healthcare system and it could be some time before we reach the next stage of his treatment. Meanwhile, we are sustained by grace, medication and prayer! ๐Ÿ™‚ x

    • Thank you so much, Lynette! I really appreciate your kind words. Feel free to make yourself at home in the archives here. There might be other poems you’ll enjoy reading.
      And you may be interested to know that I am working on a poetry anthology which I hope to publish by Spring, God willing. Bless you for stopping by to read and encourage me today, my friend. I’m a fan of your blog too and so pleased we’ve connected! ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ’œ

  5. Life-affirming, empathetic words, Joy, as always from your wise and warm heart. Bless you, from another of life’s “reluctant clock-watchers.” You always bless and challenge me to let the veneer be stripped away to pursue His authenticity xxx

    • Hello Joyce. What a pleasure to see you here! It seems to me that you are always your natural, kind and generous self, supportive of others and self-deprecating. I love how your wonderful sense of humour helps you to deal with the many trials that come your way. And you appear open and authentic in your conversations too. Maybe it’s because you aim to diligently “pursue His authenticity” that makes you so warm and loving. I hope and pray you don’t have to be a “reluctant clock-watcher” again for a long time. Blessings of health, peace and strength to you, dear friend. Xox

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