I saw this on a friend’s wall and it got me to thinking. At it’s most basic form, this is friendship. I think as kids this is absolutely true. Somewhere along the way, as adults, we become a little more cautious.
I am always open to meeting new people and enjoy hearing about their stories. But I’m not very quick to let people be my friend. To let people into our own hearts is opening it up to both possibilities of love and support but also hurt and abandonment. We can only trust another as much as we know we can be there friend. We put our own doubts on them.
As we exchange our stories and share our lives with one another, we mark each other. In good and bad ways. Sometimes these marks are wounds. We all have them, these wounds that are little and big. So we shut ourselves down and promise to never let another in. Eventually we have only ourselves. Maybe we convince ourselves that we don’t need anyone else so we spend our whole lives just trying to prove that we are ok with being alone. I have been inside of that life. It’s a lonely place. I think it’s a place we can stay for awhile, maybe out of self-preservation it’s necessary. They are part of what shapes us and makes us. We don’t have to live life stuck in our wounds. They make lonely companions.
We are called to be in relationship with others. But that is scary to do. It is an investment of time and emotional energy.
But friends are worth it. They will always be worth it. The more I work on my own issues with trust, the more open I am becoming to friends. I am quicker to open my hand and extend it towards another. The more I do stuff with someone else, the better I get to know them. But there is a day when the closed off person needs to open back up again. When we need to start trusting again. When we need to learn that not everyone is out to get us.
So we take a step towards another. Maybe it’s a cautious step, but it’s a step. We go to the park or the grocery store. Maybe we are the creeper at library story time who shyly smiles at the other moms until someone finally notices and says hi to you. Maybe it takes someone else inviting you to a play date. And you surprise yourself by saying yes. There are all kinds of places to take your first step. So I hold out my hand to you and say come with me on this journey.