It’s pretty important to me to be known by name. Yeah, sure, there are times when you just want to blend into the crowd and NOT be noticed. Heck – that was my whole goal for entire decades of my life. Try being super, super morbidly obese – my dream was just to blend in. Yes, there’s some solace there. But when it comes right down to it – when we’re – well, at least I – am really honest with myself – I want to be known. Not falteringly recognized. More like enthusiastically greeted – arms opened wide, warm – not creepy – welcoming hug, genuine gratitude for the opportunity to meet again. Is there anything that compares to that? I don’t want global fame. I don’t want paparazzi tailing me. Heck, I don’t even want the local news media camping out at the end of my driveway. I’ve got way more important things to do with my time! (Like play with the baby chicks!) What I do want is connection that is meaningful, transparent, REAL.
There are people that I know fairly well – some of them for years and years even – that I would consider warm, genuine, kind, loving. Just generally the kind of people you wanna know and hang out with.
There are other people that I know – again, fairly well – that I would consider the kind of people that I know slightly less well – not meaning I wouldn’t want to know them better or hang out with them. It’s just opportunity hasn’t presented itself for more connection to happen.
I was talking to a friend about this one day. We talked about how she and I have more things in common than can be just a coincidence. Things that should not unite us into sisterhood – which we ordinarily would never wish for, but we can rejoice now for that camaraderie. She is heading into another dark season of life – after a long, seemingly never-ending haul that seemed just about as dark as one would ever face – and she is showing her characteristic grace. She is a woman marked by grace. …and tenacity… and great love. I’m so glad she’s my friend! But anyway, we were talking one day and she said, “But – do you ever feel like you can’t take those friendships or acquaintances to the next level because of the messy details?”
I knew exactly what messy details she was talking about. Not just one set of them. There are many of them in her life. As there are and have been in mine.
I knew exactly what she was expressing – her reluctance to reveal to other people the difficult things she has faced, or is facing, or will face – because the messy details would be too awkward, too depressing, too – well, messy.
She was saying – what we didn’t need to say out loud to one another – was that in the future, every interaction with that person who is now aware of the messy details might be marked with an inability to regress to the hilarious, the frivolous, the routine, or just real life – just for the sake of sanity. That we might forever be greeted by the wrinkled concerned brow, or the voice taken down a notch to convey solemnity, or the fear that to laugh in our presence might be misconstrued.
I think that’s the primary reason that I’m so thankful to God – well, just for His being there – even though sometimes I’m a mess! I love that He has a sense of humor! I love that I can express my sorrow or fear or concern to Him! I love that I don’t have to hold anything back from Him – that He can take it. I love that His Word is so chock full of gems of wisdom and balm to my sometimes weary soul. I’m so appreciative for the opportunity to sing songs to Him who knows me better than any other – because sometimes it’s the only way I can begin to know to communicate the stuff that’s overflowing in my heart.
I’m also so incredibly humbled and thankful for the wealth of friends in my life who DO know the messy details – and yet extend grace to me with their continued friendship, their honoring ability to just be real with me, the precious gift of their prayers, and the beautiful music of their laughter.
We concluded our conversation, my friend and I, feeling very thankful for the fact that the messy details didn’t – and still don’t – have to dictate our lives. I know its cliché – but there is great truth in the fact that life does go on. Dishes still need washed. Laundry still needs done. Gardens still need weeded. Kids still need just chunks of time. That’s where the beauty is – isn’t it? When life goes on? But only, of course, when HE is there in the midst of it all.