I have been in a long season of learning about friendship. More specifically, on truly entering into the the life of another. On feeling their feelings, crying their tears, singing their joys.
What does this look like? How do I get to this place with someone?
I want it desperately and I know I’m made to need it.
But it isn’t easy. If it was, my world would be full of friends who I can do this with. But, it’s not. My life isn’t completely void of this sweet gift. I’m seeing traces of it here and there. And I’m so very thankful for that.
My desire is that I would be known by someone and I would know them. And we would still love.
Because that is love. To know each other deeply and well and to still choose each other.
And I think part of this is choosing to truly enter into each other’s lives. To care what happens to them in each area of their lives. To just stay caught up on the day to day existence of another and to go through it with them.
It takes choosing not to be flippant. To not tell another person that ‘I totally get it,’ but ‘at least it’s not as bad as what I’ve been through.’
It’s definitely not giving a quick answer of ‘hope it works out,’ ‘I’ll pray for you,’ or don’t worry, God is in control.’ These rarely, if ever, show your care for someone. Instead they minimize another person’s feelings and push them away, sending the message that you don’t have time to get involved in their situation, in their life.
It’s choosing not to stop engaging after you’ve shared about your day or your particular experience because you’ve gotten what you need and aren’t interested in giving to another by listening and caring.
It takes making time for someone even when you are busy and tired and having a hard time yourself. Sometimes dropping what you are doing to engage with another person is really hard. But isn’t that was Jesus, my greatest example of living life with love for others, did? Didn’t he live his life from one interruption to another? As he was going about his business, he was constantly interrupted with those looking for relationship, healing, love. When did my life become so important that I am above doing this? And wouldn’t my life be so much more important if I did do this?
I get it. We all feel like our situation is so important, so big, so challenging. And so we compare, making note that another’s situation couldn’t possibly be as big, challenging, or important as ours. What a horrible mistake and an unfortunate way to make another person feel. When we focus on and care about another, taking our eyes off ourself, we often gain a new perspective on both ourselves and the other person. We realize our situation isn’t the biggest, the most important, or the most challenging. It’s life. And rather than create distance by making ourselves and our life issues the focus, we can walk along side each other cause we all have life issues we want to journey through in relationship. But we can’t do that when we are so busy putting all our stuff first.
And so, I want to be a cheerleader. I want to have an effect on my friendships that will give them energy and life. I want to care deeply about their situation, marriage, children, career, hopes, vision, dreams…I want to enter into their life. And when I get in there, I want to be a source of deep, authentic friendship.
Cause I think this life is about relationship and love. I think it’s not going to matter how many items I checked off my to-do list (though I love these lists and totally get that we all have to have them to keep things moving!). It’s going to matter how well I loved. It’s going to matter how well I entered into the lives of those that have been put in my life.
So, my heart’s desire is to enter in. To the beautiful, the messy, the ugly, the glorious, the sacred. I’m not good at it but I’m thankful for grace. And I’m thankful there will people along my journey who will enter in with me.