Monday, February 9, 2015

on friendship // let's see each other

There was a time, years ago, that a priest and I were in a car together driving somewhere in Washington, DC. Honestly, it's been so long I forget where we were going, but we had the windows rolled down, the breeze was beautiful, and DC was thriving with its busyness, culture, and life.

We were at a stop when Father beckoned a homeless man toward us. The first thing that came from this man's mouth and heart were, "Father. Why do they not see me?"


His question was so full of authenticity and sincerity. It was quiet. My heart was stilled at those very words. I don't remember what Father told him but I know they had an exchange. I sat beside watching them embrace before the light turned. So many of my thoughts since that encounter have consumed me.

He wants to be seen.

I want to be seen. To be known.

We all want to be seen and known.

To be seen means so much. It's not a brief eye-nod as you pass. Nor is it just looking at the person across from you at the table. It's something a little more than that.

It's the kind of seen that so many would encounter when meeting Blessed Mother Theresa. It's the kind of seen that recognizes and embraces your amazing goodness, God-given dignity, and beautiful soul all at once. It's the kind of seen that says, Show me you, I want to know, serve, and love the person that you are.

Lately, friendship has been on my mind a lot. And apparently it has been on the mind of many in the blogosphere. There have been hearts that have been poured fourth in the form of a post by some really lovely women. Some seeking. All encouraging. These posts have touched on so many of the areas that we, as women, sometimes struggle to put into words.

In fact, Melody over at Blossoming Joy, put words and spirit to an inner turmoil that meets so many women. It was beautiful. You really must read it. It will leave you breathless and in tears because there is so much hard truth and great goodness.

It will leave you so because it touches on the very thing that we so much yearn for. To be seen.
The thing is, it's easy to say Hi to each other. It's easy to chat about the silly and the diapers and the need for the coffee, the wine, or whatever your daily happy-in-a-cup may be. All good in and of themselves because they all share a little tidbit of you. But to really see someone you have to go a little further. You have to be open to see the struggle and hurt as much as the fun and silly because we are a broken people. Each aspect of who we are serve a purpose greater than us. Each aspect of us reflects the one who created us in His Image. Most profoundly in marriage but also just as beautiful in friendship.
Being women, this speaks to our feminine heart. Why? Well for a ton of reasons I'm sure! But what comes to my mind is that we were created to be in communion. In the very raw beginning of woman, we were formed for another. Man was created and had his time with God. Their union and friendship was good. And then God created woman - a helpmate. It is at our core to reflect this goodness of God. To reflect beautiful friendship and communion. It's no wonder it means so much to us!

But then enters sin.

We are broken. We've been hurt. We've been left. We've been taken advantage of. Discouraged and/or let down. We've been ignored, brushed aside and not seen. Sin has broken us.

But then there's grace, His mercy, His Cross, His Resurrection, and courage.

He has conquered and called us to be disciples. When Christ met His apostles, His friends, after rising from the dead He said, "Peace be with you" and showed them his wounds. He started with peace. He met them as they were. There was joy and excitement and then He brought them closer into His joy and His suffering, his triumph and His cross so that He could be more fully revealed.

So that He could be seen and known.

Friends, let's be courageous. Let's meet each other in our joys and our struggles and not be afraid.

We were not created to be lone islands. We are here to raise each other up. To walk together. To know and see each other all the while sharing the gift of our faith and Lord.

(via)
Friendship can be complicated and tough and distanced and awkward. Time may be limited. Distance may be a factor. Crying children may be happening but let's still meet. There may be loads of laundry, messy hair, and craziness, but let's still see each other. There may be sorrow, depression, injuries, anxieties, and pain but let's be brave together. We are sisters in Him and His grace, love, and goodness are stronger than all of our goodness and all of our mess.

Let's believe that. Let's trust in Him. Let's meet each other. Let's know each other. Let's love each other in friendship and fellowship so that we may authentically see one another and embrace the gift of our feminine genius along this journey towards Heaven.

How do you meet and see your beloved sisters in friendship? What nourishes? What hinders?

Let's chat in the combox.

14 comments:

  1. Amanda, this is beautiful. I've never stopped to think long enough about friendship in this way, but I think it is sooo true. We long to be truly seen, to be heard, to have someone share our joys and struggles, as you said, beyond the diapers and surface. I've had good friendships fall away, simply because one or both of us stopped seeing, stopped sharing, stopped being seen. Why? I have no idea. But I mourn that it happened and wonder how to fix it? And how can women move more quickly to a sincere friendship, past the small-chat? I haven't figure that one out, and it's been years of trying.

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    1. Gina, Thank you! It's so hard when friendships fall away. On the one hand, we're human and can't keep up and nourish all the friendships during this busy season, but on the other hand maybe we have to stick to the little things even in those friendships? I don't know. I have friends I wish I could see more often but because of distance and time it's hard. A text here. A card there. Phone calls (lol even if brief and filled with craziness). But I think sometimes getting passed the surface is hard. That's where hurt and sin set up those walls. And I suppose as any wall takes time to build it would take time to bring down too. SO much to think about!? I like what Cate said online about being more intentional. So true! We're so used to just passing through time actually being intentional takes quite the effort! Especially for my easily dis-tractable mind!

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  2. Yes! To be seen. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I'm the only one among my friends craving this. So many of the conversations stay so superficial and safe or guarded by humor. But I have to believe it's universal, right? And I'll be the one to say it, social media is hiding the fact that most of us aren't truly being seen or seeing each other. It's wonderful but it is sorely lacking in its ability to foster true depth of relationship. You asked what hinders…I will say that I think the sense of competition, of the little and big betrayals among friends that creates fear of vulnerability, in addition to the social media issue are the biggest culprits. Such a good topic and post. Thank you!

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    1. One thing I think I've noticed is that, when building friendships, getting that friendship to a place where we can have the less guarded convos normally takes place after getting to know each other on one-on-one playdates or even a coffee out for some girl time. In bigger groups there are definitely more of the surface convos that are worth our time but don't always meet our hearts. I also do agree with social media. As much as it's been such a blessing, I do think it makes us lazier. I think of Mary and Elizabeth and how Mother Mary walked all those miles while pregnant just to meet her friend. There was so much effort on her part! Something that isn't always easy for me since my little introverted heart can have a tendency to not say Yes or make the effort to plan to meet my friends because it's easier for me to stay home. Gosh, there's so much to say about it all. I hear ya on the little and big betrayals. I know I can get more guarded when I sense other friends seem to be hitting it off with others but I try to tell myself to be happy for them and thankful for the friends I do have that do get me. The latter just doesn't serve me or my heart. But it can be hard for sure. I wonder how else social media has affected feminine friendships. Thoughts?

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    2. I just had a great conversation with a friend about this yesterday. Big groups are nice but more often than not, you can't meet that need through true connection through them. But often we feel guilty leaving anyone out or connecting with a certain person when there are so many wonderful women we'd like to connect with. As far as social media, we talked about that, too :) I think social media can play into our wounds. There is a temptation to post public messages to people that could very well be done privately or post pictures of get togethers that were not an open invitation…I know from my own experience and talking to others that that can cause hurt feelings. There's so much we make public now that doesn't necessarily need to be and I have to question the intention behind that. And while I love the camaraderie of FB and the like, you make lots of little connections with lots of people and I think that *can* be a lesser substitute for a deeper connections with fewer people. There's so much to dig into and we're ALL learning with this stuff so it's tricky but at the core our need for deep connection and friendship remains the same, I think.

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    3. So great you were able to get together with a friend about this. Haha since writing this we've either been under quarantine or friends have gotten sick so I really haven't seen friends in an intimate setting where we could expand on this post. I really want to chat with friends about this and get their thoughts too. And especially about how to meet each other (for another post). I did get together with a new friend recently and it was over coffee sans kiddos and it's amazing how much you can get to know a friend over concentrated friend time! It was so nice! I agree with all the public too! I know I've felt little stings here and there when not invited to some gatherings but I know that I've pulled from that group as well because of life and season so I do try not to let it get to me (hard!). I definitely agree that the need stays the same. I wish I knew the theological aspect that draws us to this relationship. Surely someone has written on it? Will have to do some research! :)

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  3. Wow... you spoke to this so beautifully. And while I do appreciate the nod to my post (thank you!) I appreciate even more that you have continued and expanded the discussion. I think Mary has identified a big factor to our falling apart from each other: competition. I don't understand it. Perhaps it stems from our natural protective instincts for our families, but it has been distorted. And even faithful adult Catholic women can turn high school on each other in quieter ways. But perhaps we are also separated by our own fears and fatigue and busyness. So much to unpack here. lol. Thanks again and God bless!

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    1. Melody! Such a compliment! There's so much to be said about friendships. Especially in this stage of fatigue, busyness, and insecurities. But for these same reasons, friendships are so important. I know I have friends that make me better and I am forever grateful for that. But I also have some that I miss and am trying to reconcile how to meet. And, I'm curious - How do you see competition play out? There really is so much to unpack!

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  4. Oh, yes! Love this! So often we just yearn to be seen. What a wonderful post.

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    1. Thank you, Rita! It's so important, isn't it!? Thankful for friends who see me :)

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  5. Love this!! Such a great reminder and something I'll definitely be taking to prayer this week.

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    1. So glad you liked it, Melody! Would love to know what struck you to take this to prayer.

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