If I were to ask you about your closest friends, what would you tell me about them? Would it line up with what I could read about them online? Think about that for a moment…
Do You REALLY Know Your Friends? Do they REALLY know you?
Her sons came up and played the bean toss with me during Light the Night several years ago. We’d had to move indoors because of rain and my daughter and I were manning the bean bag toss. Suddenly these young boys are hanging out with me, melting my heart. One of them was the age my son Diego would have been if he had been able to take his first breath outside of my womb and another was the age of an unnamed son who was my youngest daughter’s twin. As he spoke with me and played the game and asked me a million questions, I began to heal inside in a place I didn’t realize was still wounded.
That was how I met her and her husband.
For years I had read her blog and enjoyed the reality with which she spoke. She didn’t hide things. She didn’t sugar coat things. She just typed with this blatant honesty that most of us would cover up, run from, hide somewhere no one could ever find. I enjoyed her candor. At the time in my life, it was a breath of fresh air, as my mask was all too quickly becoming one with my skin.
Could I really be friends with someone who is so raw? So uncut?
It was such an odd experience to be standing face to face with this woman. That moment I realized SHE was the woman whose blog I read…I was somewhat starstruck. I mean…isn’t that creepy? To read someone’s intimate thoughts and suddenly they are standing in front of you? How do we end up in the same church when she is from 3000 miles away? How is it that I am face to face with the woman who speaks in ways I only dream I could? Can we really become friends?
And we did. We became friends.
That is what leads me to this post. I moved eight months ago to a new state. In the months leading up to the move, she and I had several occasions of sneaking off for breakfast, eating ice cream along the drawbridge, laughing at silly things, crying at times. More than once I asked to steal her for a few hours only to return a half a day later. I would steal her children from time to time to watch movies and enjoy some time away from the house. I would watch the kids so she and her husband could get away…though truthfully they could have without me but humored me in thinking they needed me to be there as it was a safer excuse than admitting I liked spending time with the seven children and my daughter, laughing and listening to stories.
I have missed her while being away. A lot. We have spoken a few times and texted a bit. Interacted on Facebook, but nothing like the friends I have monthly phone calls with or am texting with often. Yet when I knew I would be visiting home, she was the first person I texted and wanted to spend time with the day I arrive.
Tonight I was reading through some blogs I have not read in a while. Hers was one of them. I saw a link I had not noticed previously, and I read it. And I read it again… How had she been through all of this as I was walking alongside her yet I didn’t know?
These questions brought me to this realization:
We have been friends for several years, have talked about many things, have laughed and cried together….yet we haven’t truly opened up to one another. We are both writers – but that doesn’t make us good communicators in speech. In fact, I would say writers are probably some of the worst people when it comes to adequately expressing their thoughts in spoken word because we are so used to being able to edit ourselves.
But what if we didn’t edit ourselves?
What if when I see her this upcoming month, instead of being that friend who laughs and cries, I become the friend who lives it out alongside her? What if I allow myself to open up to her and she does the same to me? What if these two writer ladies who will bare their souls to the world yet stays somewhat (and I use that loosely because we are both seemingly very open people until you realize all that lies beneath) reserved when it comes to each other would stay unedited – just speak as it comes?
I walked alongside her for the diagnosis and learning what was happening. I knew of the treatment and even asked how she was doing afterward – yet somehow I overlooked the part about the smiling. I knew what was going on yet somehow missed the key healing that was taking place. I knew what was going on but I…
didn’t have a clue.
Let’s be honest. I knew the superficial stuff. I was so absorbed in my own world and my own problems that I missed this wonderful testimony being written right in front of me. How sad.
We are now 2000 miles apart and are about to spend some time together when I visit home in the upcoming months. As I visit my goal is to truly get to know her – to live out loud and in the moment of being able to speak like we write. I want to leave knowing those wonderful stories firsthand, not from reading her blog…and I want to share with her how important she is to me…maybe even before this one publishes.
What’s In This For You?
I am so glad you asked. I challenge you to think about your friends. Think about what you know about them and how your conversations tend to play out. If they have blogs, read them and see if you knew all that was going on. If you did, great! If you didn’t, make time with your friends to learn more about them from their mouths versus through the screen.
In this every-connected society it is too easy to ignore that we aren’t truly connecting with folks. We read their status and blogs and think we know there, but there is so much more that lies beneath, that lies untouched. When we can pull the worlds together into a heart-to-heart connection, it is then – and only then – that we will have a solid friendship that transcends time and space.
Until next time,