When I am being very “grown-up” in all the wrong ways, all replete with very me, honesty hurts. Being real and true and genuine feels like carving out a little piece of my heart and offering it to another person, all the while praying I can put the piece back when the moment’s past, praying they don’t squash it to the point of being unusable. That hope is foolish and often false.
I’ve been considering this a lot the past few days. Sure, I was real. But it wasn’t comfortable. Days later, it still isn’t comfortable. I’m wanting to get that piece back unmarred. Silly me.
That’s not the kind of honesty I want to have. I want a new kind of honesty. Or perhaps it’s an old sort. However you see it, whether as a new openness of youth or old (meaning “former”), I want back the sincerity of my childhood. When I could be silly and authentic and transparent without brooding over what my friends thought of me. Childhood allowed me to be open about who I was without fear. “Fitting in” wasn’t a worry. My friends might have preferred their dolls or toy cars or sports to my books and puzzles, but we could still enjoy one another’s company. And I wasn’t so afraid to tell someone what they meant to me. The openness of childhood made it easy to say to someone “you’re my best friend!” without worrying, “oh, but does she want to be my best friend? maybe I’m not her best friend, and this is all going to be very awkward now”.
Really, it’s funny to me how this idea has been a running bit in my life lately. I’ve found that the most recent children’s books I’ve read offered up examples of this sort of friendship: The Magician’s Nephew is a fantastic read, and I usually pick it up to read of the foundation of Narnia (gives me chills–good chills–every time). That is why I read it this week, but I was struck by something else that has never really stayed with me before. It was the friendship of Digory and Polly. Such easy friendship there, and uncomplicated forgiveness (okay, not really, but as simple as it can be). And the second book was Winnie-the-Pooh. Because even though Pooh is very often a silly old Bear, he is so very loyal to his friend Christopher Robin, and C.R. is always so loving toward Pooh. And the music that’s been on repeat lately has pushed it on me, too. “I’ve often felt forsaken and certainly misused”, sang one song, and “I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered”. Another crooned to me, as if the sweet tone of voice could make up for the devastating truth being sung: “as for your tender heart, this world’s gonna rip it wide open”. My favorite author (can’t get through a post without quoting him) said “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken”. The whole paragraph that thought came from has stuck with me since I first read it years ago.
I think it’s a very “adult” thing to want to get involved in people’s lives without getting scarred. Who worries about scars? Not the little ones. They in their wisdom run around and get dirty and scrape their knees and get back up again. Life is about living, not wasting moments worrying about inevitable scrapes and bruises.
I want to be very like a child in my friendships in this sense. If whatever does not proceed from faith is sin, then I pray for grace, that all of my life, my friendships included, would proceed from faith. I want to act in faith when approaching community. I want to proceed recklessly; I want to love my dear friends without considering the cost. I want to love my sisters and brothers by being honest and true without caring how many times I might get a little trampled. Because greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. And I want to begin by being unselfish, open, and genuine in the context of friendship (while still trying to be wise about it). You may have my heartfelt honesty, then (literally, heart-felt). Because friends, if I know anything, I know that all things work together for good.
I know this is not very thorough; to me it feels like an incomplete thought. However, I meant for this to be brief, as the title says. I just needed to write it out to understand it myself, and in writing it, found I wanted to share it. Take it for what it is: I am merely thinking aloud (or whatever the written equivalent to “aloud” is).