Friendship can be so wonderful…and so messy too.
What’s the difference between a casual acquaintance and a REAL friend?
I saw a post on Facebook recently that said, “Hardest pill I swallowed was realizing I meant nothing to people that meant a lot to me.” (Source: Funny Sarcastic Grandma)
The last time I looked that post had almost 4,000 likes and 2500 shares.
That’s a lot of likes and shares.
That’s also a lot of people.
And a lot of hurting hearts.
I wish I didn’t understand that quote. Oh how I wish that I had somehow been spared the pain of broken relationships, but sadly I know the ache all too well.
In the past year one of my closest friendships ended after more than 10 years of doing life together on an almost-daily business.
It was the hardest thing I never saw coming.
I grieved the strange quiet it’s vacancy left in my day.
I grieved the random memes we’d send one another, the convos we’d have about everything under the sun.
I grieved the random sacks of books I’d find on my front porch, the sack filled and returned to hers.
I grieved our trips to TJ Maxx where we’d buy matching sweaters and laugh when we’d accidentally show up to the same event wearing them.
I grieved the absence of long lunches and birthday celebrations.
I grieved our belly laughs at absurd things, girls trips and her brilliant mind.
I grieved a lot of things, but mostly – I grieved the friendship I thought we had.
Finding out a friendship isn’t what you thought it was, or that it didn’t mean to them what it meant to you can cut to the quick.
If you know the ache of a broken friendship or estrangement from family, you know the messy truth of it all:
Loving big means hurting big.
And sometimes you think…it would just be easier to go alone.
I mean let’s be honest, getting our hearts stomped on isn’t exactly at the top of anyone’s “Fun Things to Do with my Life” list.
So how do we as Christ Followers respond when the last thing we want to do is keep putting ourselves out there? When we think we’d be better off without sharing our lives with other people?
The author of Hebrews wrote in chapter 10, that we should spur one another on, not give up meeting, and encourage one another. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
And it hits me.
We’re gonna miss a lot of life if our aim is to not get hurt.
If we sit on the sidelines or watch from afar.
Sure, we might not get hurt, but we’re going to miss out on a lot of joy too.
Because people might be the hardest, but they’re also the best.
God has placed people in our lives that challenge us to become the best versions of ourselves, that show up for us, and encourage us along the way. And he’s called us to pour these things out to those around us too.
Jesus did life with men who would deny him, betray him and sell him out. Of all people, Jesus knew the rejection of man.
He also knew it was worth it.
One of the guys who would deny Jesus wrote in 1 Peter 4, ”Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:8-10)
God knew we’d want to give up, say to heck with it and move into a yurt in Mongolia. But he also knew better than to let us live in a desolate country among the mountain goats (unless of course, that’s where God has ya. In which case, stay warm, brother.).
He knew the lavish gift of REAL friendship is one of the purest forms of LOVE – and that love shows up, takes the risk, and loves people anyway.