I sat across from her and told her I had no compassion for her pain, no patience for her struggles, and did not care about her heart.
That’s how dinner went with an old friend. I say old because the Lord has kept us connected against the odds of space and time. I also say old because we are each “old souls.” We have each been drawn away from the place we initially shared into our own walks and struggles. In catching up and talking over our lives, we discovered much overlap in what the Lord has done in us, through us, for us. We talk about shared passions and the fulfillment we gain from following the Lord instead of fighting. And we get to share our hearts- the secrets we hold back from the world, the things we whisper to the ceiling hoping even God can’t hear what we say. In that moment, I share with my friend my realization of who I used to be in years past- full of fear- and how I tried to protect myself – by not needing and not caring for the needs of others. I lived in a place of being afraid to carry the weight of love- to have compassion and to hurt for others is a heavy load and my life felt heavy enough. I did not want the added weight. So, I cared for others in the moments of need and moments of shared feelings, but I kept everyone at arm’s length.
In this moment of truth, I was sure she heard that I had no compassion for her pain, no patience for her struggles, and did not care about her heart. In my fits of fear juxtaposed with my relational core, I moved close to people but never dared to allow my heart to become entrenched or effected by their lives.
There is a freedom offered when the words are spoken out loud; but to speak them to someone who knows you and has experienced your friendship feels dangerous. I am laying it all out on the table praying for forgiveness through acts of love that I have not always shown. I speak honestly with hope that my friend’s heart will not judge and walk away but sit in love and then walk out the newness that is created with this confession. I pray that with the digging out of these fears that she would be willing to sit in the trench created and then help me crawl out into the fresh air.
And she does. Because the Lord is good and he has not only brought us together but kept us connected. And she is lovely and full of grace.
But this is a pattern, a habit, a practice that is dangerous and something that should be done more often than I do. What is good is not always what feels safe. Sometimes good comes in scary confessions that offer freedom and a renewed freshness in friendship. Sometimes, freedom looks dangerous.
I think there’s something spiritual about friendship. The beauty of grace and love mixed with the murky mess of sin provides the perfect place for the Lord to work, for the Lord to be revealed, for the Lord to heal.