A few weeks back I was busy cleaning our storefront church, with earbuds in my ears, when Emily came in to grab her mail. I made conversation but was feeling pretty overwhelmed with my own thoughts and I didn’t even notice that she was becoming short with me in conversation. It wasn’t til a week or so later that I really knew something was wrong.
It’s kind of embarrassing but I am going to get real here. I want to do it in hopes that others will learn from it. I was browsing the webs when I came across a photo that our dear friend Jackie had posted. She shared how Emily had stopped by and gave her a gift and took the time to see how she was doing. I immediately got a little jealous, but then something else came over me. Something deeper. In that moment I began to remember how Emily expresses her friendship. Emily is so good at reaching out and saying, “hey we should hang out at a coffee shop on Friday!” or “let’s take a walk on Kelly Drive.” It made me realize that I had not done my part to reach out and be a friend, in a way that she understood, in a very long time. It’s easy for me to get caught up in my own woes or thoughts. It’s easy to go for a time and forget that I have friendships to maintain.
In that moment I felt like I had royally failed. I wanted to crawl into a deep hole and just be lonely forever. So dumb, but true. The awesome part is that I didn’t act out that temptation in the end. I found myself thinking about how I should connect with her and say, “hey we need to check out that paper store you were telling me about a while back.” So I got up the courage and we set up a time to hang out this past Friday. In the meantime, both Emily and her husband went through some crazy stuff and I connected with her again and said, “instead of going to the paper store, we should just chill at the coffee shop and catch up.”
We met and had the most amazing conversation. It reminded me of why I wanted to be friends with this cool person in the first place. Emily and I are similar in a lot of things and even our husbands have pretty similar ways of thinking. What makes being friends with Emily special, though, is that we aren’t entirely the same. I am very introspective and she is very good at sensing what is around her. In our conversation over tea and white hot chocolate, Emily told me that the day she had come to get her mail at the church, she was hoping that I would reach out and ask how things were going for her. I, unfortunately, was oblivious and didn’t ask and didn’t seem to really care. She told me that she got upset and started to feel like the friendship was one sided.
I immediately connected all the pieces in my mind as to what was going on and told her that I was so sorry for how I had been, that I am not good with getting hints or reaching out. I appreciated her honesty, even though it was hard for her to do. We realized that day that both of us reached out where it wasn’t easy for either of us and came to a resolution. Emily expressed how it is so easy for her to please people instead of expressing how she really feelings about something. It was pretty awesome to be able to share our strengths and weaknesses with each other and be able to talk about how we were going to work things out in the future.
I am so grateful for all of the women that I have had the pleasure of knowing these last couple of years. Our friend Jackie is another heart that I have felt a true bond with and she gave me this awesome cup yesterday! I feel so blessed to be loved despite my complexities. Haha. I am honored to know such warm and honest hearts. When we take the time to let go of our expectations and reach out to others in a way that might not always be natural, but healthy, it creates bonds that can’t be broken. Sometimes we think that we have to walk on eggshells to keep our friends, but really it’s all about getting down in the dirt and growing together.
Are there friendships that need mending? Maybe you feel like your friend needs to step up to the plate and do more, but what can you do? Maybe forgiveness is the cure? I am one of the most awkward people and probably not the easiest person to understand or know, but God has been changing my heart. He knows what it takes for us to feel loved and connected. I mean, he made us relational, right?
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:12-14