Real Life Friends
From the day we first met there has always been something magical about Alyson. Something in her stirs up good things in my soul. With her, I know I am safe and valued and seen.
This morning, as I was passing her on school grounds after dropping my kids off at their various classrooms, all it took was one moment of eye contact and a sob started rising up in my chest. I’m aching, I realized with a modicum of surprise.
Not a word was spoken. We simply hugged each other firmly, stood back, looked into each other’s eyes for a moment, and then she smiled her tender, compassionate, knowing smile, giving me permission to be my broken self. I twisted my mouth in an attempt to smile back, but my eyes welled up and all I could do was nod and then walk to my car, choking back tears the whole way. She was about to go into her son’s classroom for a meeting of some sort and I needed to get to my car as soon as possible so that I didn’t become a sobbing mess in front of everyone else.
Language wasn’t necessary between she and I in that moment. Yet somehow, in our simple, seven-second long exchange, we both knew that I needed prayer and love and to simply be seen today. I didn’t even want to talk about anything. Not today. Not in front of all those other parents at school.
And she knew it. She could sense it. And so she didn’t push and I gratefully scooted out of there and went for a much-needed walk by myself. It was just what my soul needed today.
Do you have any friends like that? Friends who have grieved alongside you, who have rejoiced alongside you, and who know the real you and your real struggles and hopes and fears and frustrations— and yet they love you anyway? Do you have friends who welcome you and cheer you on and pray for you and hold your heart safely in their hands?
I didn’t even know how delicate my heart was until I saw her this morning. But that’s the thing about genuinely good, faithful, long-time friends. They know you. They’re in tune with you. They are able to pick up on what your soul needs even when you yourself may not be aware of it. They are there for you, ready to talk or laugh or cry with you when that is what needs to happen.
And they know how to give you the space you need when that is what is necessary, too.
That’s what true, real life friends are like. There’s a depth of intimacy that only comes with real, honest, face-to-face, many-times-over interactions with another human being whom you have intentionally chosen to share your life’s journey with.
There’s nothing quite like it.
And today: I honor my dear friend Alyson. And all my other “real life friends” who truly know me, take time to hear me, and willingly reciprocate connection by courageously sharing their journeys with me as well. Thank you, “my people,” for praying for me, hugging me, and loving me despite myself. My life is fuller and richer and more fulfilling because you are in it.
[This is Day 14 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. This year my focus is on the role of STORY in our lives. Click here to get to the landing page with links to each post for this series.]
P.S. As a big fat THANK YOU to all of you faithful readers who have been reading along during this challenge, DaySpring is offering one lucky reader a $100 Shopping Spree to Dayspring.com! Click here to enter yourself.
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What about you?
What does it take to cultivate genuine, real life friendships? What can you do this week to begin authentically connecting with people in your life?
Please share your story in the comment section below.