What if, today, when you ask me how I’m doing, I give you an honest answer?
What if I refuse to sugarcoat my response? What if I just put it all out there? My raw emotions, my hurts, my struggles, my disappointments. What if I don’t attempt to hide my fears from you? What if I allow myself to shed a few tears in your presence?
Would that make me a burden? Would you consider me high-risk, perhaps needing a little more of you than you’re willing or able to give? If you’re like most, you would be hesitant to ask that question of me again, fearing you would step into more “life” than you’re prepared to deal with.
And yet, wouldn’t it be nice to have that freedom? The freedom to be real with one another, to step out from behind our struggles? And in doing so, to find others standing there with us, smack dab in the middle of what’s ailing us … sometimes leaning on one another, sometimes holding one another up, sometimes just sitting there together waiting on the storm to pass.
What a blessing to find rest in one another. To trust that we’re accepted. And loved. And forgiven. No longer feeling the need to impress or pretend. Realizing it’s okay to be ourselves. It’s okay to not have it all together. It’s okay to be less than perfect.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
How do we go about finding this often elusive place of unity, of trust, of uninhibited friendship?
We begin the journey to oneness with a simple thread of small kindnesses, carefully spun together over time. A smile, a hug. A quick phone call or text. Showing up when it matters most. Sticking around when others don’t.
Then we choose to hit repeat, making a conscious effort to remain nearby. Willing to be inconvenienced from time to time. Willing to make ourselves available. Even though we’re busy. Or preoccupied. Or some days just really, really tired. We don’t stop.
We keep checking on one another. Loving one another. Forgiving one another. Slowly and intentionally building relationships – good, solid, healthy relationships. Seeking out those who will speak truth into us, who will hold us accountable, who will stand by us when everyone else bails – and resolving to do the same for them.
We invest in them. We commit to them.
Until one day, we realize all those little, seemingly insignificant gestures really did make a difference. They took root and, somewhere along the way, they bloomed into beautiful, lasting friendships.
What a blessing to have such friends – and to experience the privilege in being such a friend.
May we all be that friend to someone today. May we intentionally seek out others who also need the freedoms associated with such a friendship.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10