I don’t remember where exactly I heard it, or when, but I’ve heard before that our two deepest desires are to be fully known and fully loved.
Maybe it was Donald Miller quoting Viktor Frankl, but I’m not sure.
Fully known. Fully loved.
What comes to mind are all the reasons for us to stay un-known. It’s safer that way, on many levels. It doesn’t require any vulnerability. Any bending.
The world teaches us to be strong. To fake it until you achieve some arbitrary status or position.
It preaches kindness. And generosity. Honesty, maybe. But sensitivity and grace and a sincere openness with our lives? Not often.
I’m reading an e-book right now, and the author writes about how we get used to NOT listening to ourselves (and, therefore, not letting others know the “real” us). She uses the example of someone going into work upset about something – stewing and contemplating and anxious – and the minute someone asks how she’s doing, she replies, “Oh, great, how are you?”
It’s really easy to bury ourselves.
All this to say, I am so thankful I’ve found people to help me unbury myself, allowing me to be known, and loved.
It’s clear to me (looking back) that some of my closest friendships resulted from a life shift of sorts. Going to college, taking on a long-distance relationship, getting married, and the like. In all of these stages, I desperately wanted to find “my people,” whether it was an outright hunt or more subtle effort.
Sometimes it didn’t come naturally. At the start of college, I was on a serious friend hunt. I laugh with my fiery, red-haired friend that I saw her the first night of bible study and thought, “Wow, she looks so unique. I wonder if we could be friends.”
So painfully unnatural. But we sought each other out, and it worked. She, along with a few other friends, can make me be so honest it feels like I’m naked in the coffee shop.
And other times we find our people in a gradual way, with dynamics changing as slowly as the tides. Some coming, some going. In our houses with brownies, at the park, standing up with them at weddings and sitting in church pews weeks before we even realize they’ve been there all that time.
Sometimes it’s a friendship rediscovered, reinvigorated with new experiences and close calls shared.
For all the reasons why I’ve been able to find my people – who currently span from Arizona to France to five minutes from my house – I am so so grateful.
So maybe that’s what this post is about… an ode to friends. To my friends (and family) who allow me to listen to myself – who encourage it, even – so I can make a little more room for them to know me, too.