I honestly don’t know why I’m writing this, it’s probably to get the whole thing out of my system.  Nobody that reads this is involved, so I suppose it’s safe.

Something happened this evening that made me question what a friend, or what friendship is really all about.  Now, I don’t have that many close friends.  Actually, the closest friends I have had over the years have all sort of grown away from me and my life.  Part of that is moving away, part of that is the time in my life where everything that was tethered tightly all flew loose, part of that is probably my inability to move to deeper relationship levels when I was younger, part of it is the directions we’ve gone in our lives… I dunno, but I’ve never kept a good, close, dear friend for more than 10 years, ever.

I used to think that being the best friend you could possibly be was to encourage someone else to be the best they could be.  Encourage and nurture their strengths, lend a shoulder to help hold up their weaknesses, and basically be there in whatever capacity God would allow.  Occasionally God calls us to do drastic things for others… donate a kidney, allow yourself to be the scapegoat for their internal conflicts and lose their friendship so they have a “safe” place to exist in their world, drive them to a job interview at a rival college, stay up all night at the local Shoney’s talking about god-awful poetry and whatnot… you know, the basics.  =)

I saw someone be so transparent tonight, that it hurts thinking about it.  I’ve always been camouflaged within the extrovert personality I have.  So, if you look closely you see the whole picture you can see all of me, but if I’m moving around too much, it’s hard to focus.  However, the people dearest to me over the years, I have always thought, “got” me.  I think of all the energy I poured out to those people who I cared for the most trying to help them understand me… or even more importantly, allow them to help me understand myself.

It was 4 simple words, which I won’t repeat here.  that brings me to here to get rid of this.  They weren’t the most shocking things said, or heard.  They weren’t filled with the most emotion, or carried the most vital of news.  But they impressed the heck out of me.  To allow yourself to be stripped to the barest of bare in front of not just the person you’re talking with, but those around you.  That’s a bold thing to do.  Even bolder than dressing up in pink pants with a red jacket and calling yourself the Mad Hatter.  (PS—Ashley, I still have that wonderful hat.  Thank you for the present of it so long ago.  Smile.)

I don’t think I could ever say those words, if they were true of me.  They’re not, but I doubt I would have the courage, and would hope that I would never have the occasion to say them ever.  Yet, I think if the other person in the conversation needed to hear those words…. needed them, I would hope I could put self-preservation aside and say them.  I would hope that I could be giving enough to do just that.  My jaw is slack just considering what it took to say them, and the repercussions are still to echo in the days and weeks to come.

I wonder right now, if there were anything that I really honestly could not say to someone about myself.  I wonder if there is something that would open myself up so vulnerable that I couldn’t do it.  I used to think that I could answer any question posed to me.  Actually I used to say that friends could ask anything and I’d answer it.  But I know that volunteering information is a different mindset.  It requires a lot more honesty and vulnerability than just answering someone elses inquiry.  Most people, even those closest to us, really don’t know the right questions to ask to get the heart of issues.

Hrm.  Just a thought or two for my next day or so.  I’ve got a road trip over the next two days, one day up, and half a day back… I guess I’ll have something to say when I get back home… wonder if I’ll say it.

As for those friends that have come and gone… I do miss them, even if it’s only the comfort of someone who knows which questions to ask, more often than not.


Ah well… to quote Sam,

The Answers Don’t Come Easy
Tell me
What to do with this beating heart
While I bleed alone tonight
And it’s alright if you don’t say a word
Or make it all work right

I can wait
It’s enough to know you can hear me now
Oh I can wait
It’s enough to feel so near you now
And when answers don’t come easy
I can wait

Mind’s eye can only see so far
And reason can only guess
But knowing you see more than what meets the eye
Helps me see through my helplessness

Leslie (Sam) Phillips,  The Turning 1987