Once upon a time, I had a friend. He was a man that I spent quite a bit of time with. I thought it might lead to dating, but it never did. I had the courage to ask him later why. “You didn’t let me help you organize your closet,” he said.
Yes, I am the sort of person who has a lot of trouble figuring out where to put “stuff.” He is the sort of person who gets it. I needed his help. But I wouldn’t let him in.
I have had close friendships since where I did let someone in to help me organize. That was scary. One friend went through all the stuff with me, and for that I am eternally grateful. Another friend helped me back when I was coming home from graduate school. I didn’t know what items should be packed with what other items, and she went along making piles… this goes with this goes with this… and so fast! I was amazed.
In those experiences our friendship grew stronger. We can’t be close to anyone without vulnerability. And that is scary. It is scary to be vulnerable. It takes time to do it in a healthy way, but still, for a relationship to survive, it must be done. Nothing will thrive forever if one is hiding who they are. We don’t have to (and shouldn’t) tell everyone everything, but the nature of disclosure should match the type of relationship. The level of trust should match the level of closeness. Otherwise it won’t survive.
That means that we also need to make ourselves trustworthy. Do we “help” our friends, children, and significant others, trying to jump to quick solutions that make them feel like a burden not worthy of our time? Do we let them know that their feelings are valid, and together work out a solution after they know they are not crazy? Are we giving little hints that someone is not good enough? Are we making controlling statements without realizing it, or are we letting them be who they are?
If anyone reads “Sacred Space” from the Irish Jesuits (They are good. Trust me), you will see that their reading for this week is that Jesus shows by the fact that he reaches out to prostitutes and the people on the margins of society, that he loves people where they are at. This trying to be perfect thing is useless, though he can take us through healing and guidance to the best version of ourselves eventually. Still, this trying to be perfect thing is doesn’t get us there. He loves us in our brokenness.
Can we love each other and let ourselves be loved in our brokenness and imperfections? Real relationships that are beautiful and lifegiving will flow from this.
May your day be blessed.