Tag Archives: friendship

Those Things We Call Friendships

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“I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest of courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost-work, but rather the solidest things we know.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We toss the word “friendship” around loosely these days and in doing so we’ve cheapened it’s meaning. A lot of what we call friendships are merely connections.

Connections are those people whom you say you’ll get together with…and you do…six months later. They’re the people you probably won’t hear from unless you reach out to them or bump into them around town. Most of what they know about your life comes from Facebook and Instagram, and when someone asks them about you they’re response will likely be centered around what you do for a living.

Connections aren’t bad but I’m learning it’s dangerous to call them friendships. 

Friendships are those people for whom you rearrange your calendar. They’re the ones who text or call just to share a funny or exciting story from their day. They’re the ones you text or call for the same reasons. They’re the ones who give you a hard time if they find out about a significant life event of yours on social media before hearing it from you directly, the ones who know the details of your life that are too sacred for social media. When someone asks them about you, they proudly share details about who you are and what you mean to them, not just what you do.

Friendships are hard to find. And they’re not so much waiting to be found as they are waiting to be built. 

As I get older, I become more convinced that true friendships are relationships almost as sacred as a marriage and almost as hard to come by. Now, I’m not married and it’s a different kind of intimacy, but I know that any true relationship requires vulnerability and vulnerability in any context is hard work.

With the wisdom of hindsight, I realize that many relationships I thought were friendships were merely connections. Again, those connections aren’t bad but believing they were friendships left me failing to understand the value of actual friendships. Oftentimes, while I enjoyed the company of those connections, I felt like something was missing. That missing feeling left me hesitant to place too much value on friendship at all.

As my understanding of what friendship truly is deepens, I can honestly say that I have some of the first true friendships of my life now at the age of 29. Some of those friendships are a few years old now, and the older a friendship gets the more valuable and treasured it becomes. I can also say that for the first time in my life I understand the responsibility and gift of being a friend to others. It is not a role to be taken lightly.

I agreed to meet a couple of friends for lunch. We had discussed a 12pm-ish meeting time so I left my apartment accordingly. Halfway to the destination I received a text that is was going to be 12:30. Okay, I’ll go to the nearby park and knock out some emails on my phone. 12:30 came and went. 12:45 rolled around and one friend said she was almost there. So, I headed to the restaurant. Fifteen minutes later that friend actually showed up. And the other friend another 10 minutes after that. Can I tell you I was upset? I was not a happy camper and my friend could tell. She straight up told me I was unpleasant and almost cancelled lunch because of it. In the moment that made me more upset. But, we pushed through it and lunch was more than enjoyable.

As ugly as those interactions seem in the moment, in hindsight they are some of the most treasured & beautiful because they are moments when friendship is handled with the roughest of courage. In those moments we are reminded that true friends are safe, and that we are loved not in spite of our flaws but as our whole selves – flaws and all.

Oh how I treasure those relationships that I can treat with the roughest of courage. Even when I think the ground has been shaken, my friends quickly show me that our friendship is rock solid. It is grace and love in the flesh.

Three Things I Love About My Friends

My friends are more unique than I can wrap my mind around most days. They’ve grown up all over the country…some in different parts of the world. Some, I’m almost certain, are long lost twins of mine & others I threaten to never speak to again because they don’t like mint chocolate M&Ms :) We have bonded over everything from Mexican food to a night on the town to music to a fiercely competitive game of Phase 10. They collectively have more quirks than I can count.  

But I’ve come to see that despite the differences, there are three things all of my closest friends have in common that I love about them:

  1. They live like they believe relationships matter
  2. They embrace the unconventional 
  3. They crave growth

At the end of the day, those three things are at the core of who I am. I believe that making time for friends is what gives life depth & richness. That unconventional may be risky & non-sensical but it’s also often a door to a fuller life. And I am passionate about growth because seeing God’s redeeming restoring work in action is one of the most beautiful things.

I’m beginning to think that those heart connecting similarities are the ones that really matter. They are the things that allow us to fight through the not so likable sides of one another & come out friends on the other side. To see the beauty in working through the ugly. To embrace the awkward moments & seasons as catalysts for growth. To feel like no time has passed when we only get to catch up every 6 months. And to experience a fuller richer life because of it.

What do you love about your friends? 

When Your Soul Wakes Up

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. – Zora Neale Hurston 

It’s true. Love really does make your soul come out of hiding. In the last 12 months I have known love of different sorts – friendly love, romantic love…even the unexplainable love of strangers. As I read this quote tonight, it put words to the season I’m in – my soul has come out of hiding.

And can I tell you? It’s an equally frightening & exhilarating place to be? The threat of hurt looms around every corner. A broken heart is one vulnerable moment away. But the freedom of being known is waiting on the other side of an honest confession. The opportunity for connection a conversation away.

No one told me that my soul waking up would be so painful at times. Or, as a friend tweeted the other day, “no one told me that getting my heart back would hurt so much.”

Love wakes us up in a way that not much can. LOVE was what woke us up at the beginning of time, so it’s no wonder, is it? But, when we wake up…when our soul crawls timidly out of its hiding place in the darkness of fear & shame into the light of love, acceptance, & freedom, it’s a shock to our system. It will hurt. But I also have to believe that, if I see it through, I will discover a life unlike any I’ve known before.

 

Here’s to You, My Friends

I love my friend Sarah for a lot of reasons but especially because, in her words, she’s “on the look out for extraordinary relationships in a sometimes too ordinary world.” She wrote a post the other day with a fun opportunity to join in on a Great Big Friendship Blog. I decided to take the opportunity to brag on my friends because I don’t do it enough.

I’m bending the rules because I can’t pick just one. So, my friends, here’s to you…

To my “friend family” as I call them: Luke, Stephen, Nick, Christian, Angee, & Ariel. When I call them family I mean it with every bit of me. There aren’t 6 other people in the world with whom I can be more myself & rest with. Our worlds were connected long before we knew it & I love the story of how we all became a “group.” They are my favorite people to sit around a fire discussing life with & around a table laughing with as we play Phase 10. And when we’re scattered across the country as work has us on the road, 2 hours group text conversations keep us together. Ask me about any of them & an instant smile will spread across my face, I just can’t help it. :)

To Emily, one of my longest friends. We met as freshmen in college volunteering together at a youth program at church. I’ll be completely honest, we butted heads for a long time. I was the “responsible get it done by the book” person & she was the “carefree, it’ll all work out, just have fun with the kids” person. But something changed after we graduated & she moved across the world to China. She’s now one of my dearest friends & I appreciate that she has known me through so many seasons of life & seen me at my worst much more than most. She has endured a month of traveling in China with me & and our friendship has survived different time zones, countries, & states. Emily is one of my favorite people to do nothing with…simply be…because she values that & it makes me value it when I’m with her.

To Matt, another one of my long friends. I’ve known Matt since we were enemies as freshmen in high school. We quite literally had yelling matches & said very unkind things to each other. I don’t quite remember how we ended up becoming friends, but we did. My favorite memories are Sunday nights regularly spent eating pie at Perkins & blonde highlights at home gone bad. He’s the one friend I always make a point to visit when I’m back in Minnesota. He too has seen me at my worst much more than most & I appreciate that about him…honestly I’ve probably had to apologize more to him than most people :) There is something valuable about people who can reflect for you the changes you’ve been through & the ways in which you’ve grown.

To J & Carl, and the rest of the crew that gathers on Sunday nights, who love better than perhaps anyone I’ve ever met. Truly, the way they love people challenges me. They’re some of my newer friends, but I love them still the same. It’s been incredible to watch the community that organically grows around them simply because they live who they are & they aren’t afraid to climb into the mud with people.

The list of friends I would love to brag about could go on for days. They are the most diverse, craziest cast of characters I could’ve never dreamed up. And when I stop to think about the people whose paths I’ve been blessed to cross I’m quickly overwhelmed with the deepest gratitude because they are grace with skin, they make God’s love tangible in ways I could never imagine. And maybe, at the end of the day, that’s what friendship is ultimately about: a way for us to understand just how much God loves us…for us to see ourselves, through our friends’ eyes, as He does.

Join the fun & tell us about a friend who has helped to make you who you are. 

What Do You Do When You Don’t Want to See?

What do you do when you don’t want to see?

I honestly hadn’t thought about it. I hadn’t considered that there’d come a moment when I didn’t want to see. It’s one thing to be unaware…to not see because your eyes haven’t yet been opened to things. And that was a challenge I anticipated this year. But it’s another to have open eyes which you choose to close because you don’t want to see.

The introvert in me can become quite selfish in relationships. It reaches a breaking point at which it chooses to see no one but itself. It doesn’t want to see that there are other people who need connection even if it doesn’t. In those moments, I often choose not to see. I choose not to see because I don’t want to see. Seeing is particularly hard & messy in those moments. Seeing is exhausting in those moments. Seeing feels like taking one step forward only to take 4 giant leaps backwards.

This past week was one of me not wanting to see. Of more often than not choosing to close my opened eyes because seeing just felt too hard & I was tired of hard. Then I got a note from a dear friend. And I saw. I saw that I’d been refusing to see. Sometimes it takes being seen to make you realize you’ve been choosing not to see & I am grateful for friends who do just that for me – who remind me that I am seen even if I think I’m not…even if I try not to be.

Do you ever not want to see? What do you do in those moments?

Throwback Sundays…Nothing…and Everything

 

“Mooch and Earl just stayed still and enjoyed nothing…and everything.”

I don’t know…there is just something sweet about that…the ability to sit with someone or a group of people and enjoying nothing and everything all at the same time. I am incredibly blessed to have people I get to do that with here in Nashville. And most weekends, that’s how I spend my time…savoring life…being still with friends I love enjoying nothing…and everything. For that and for them, I am grateful.

It was true then & it’s still true now. Friends with whom you can enjoy nothing…and everything are an absolute gift. And spending time with them is what weekends are made for.