I don’t get out much mostly because I don’t see a reason to. I have a warm home filled with the people I love, a kitchen to cook in, a soft bed to sleep in, a chair to read in, dogs that love me and cats to pet. There isn’t much outside of my little world that I have need for in my life.
But earlier this week, I had lunch with some friends. We talked. Small talk mostly: our kids, latest happenings in their lives, the safe stuff. The every day stuff. The stuff you’d expect from moms catching up.
And then, walking to our cars, in the last few minutes, the conversation suddenly went deeper, to our struggles. As if the realness of it was too tender to be able to casually toss out over a table in a restaurant.
One person mentioned a struggle, another voiced complete understanding and empathy (not to be confused with sympathy), and before you know it we all stood there, nodding our heads, realizing the bond of commonality we all shared beneath the surface of grace and kindness that we keep at the forefront out of compassion for others.
“I’m so glad I’m not alone” was said in more than one voice.
And you know how I knew I was in the company of good people? No one asked for details. When we each shared a summary of a problem no one leaned in with a gleam in their eye and asked for the low down because they weren’t seeking fodder for gossip.
Instead, there was nodding and compassion and support and the understanding that there were deeper waters than we realized. That we were here, divinely placed, to hold one another’s hand and help each other cross those waters.
We are a broken people. We are utterly broken in so many ways and as time progresses our world just seeks more ways to dismantle us.
So many people sit and dine on the brokenness of others like carrion birds, picking at the bones with an insatiable appetite.
Still others come along, look at the pieces, pause and say “Hey, wait a minute. I can help you put this back together. This isn’t nearly as bad as it seems, let’s see what we can do.” and proceed to assemble the pieces of the puzzle, helping to reveal the beauty in our lives that was harder to see until the pieces were put together
We can’t fix the world. But we can pay careful attention to whose hand we reach for when our lives are scattered. The pieces are meant to be put back together – and God sends us puzzle solvers – and equips us to be them – if we just pay attention.
Ointments and perfume encourage the heart; in a similar way, a friend’s advice is sweet to the soul. ~Proverbs 27:9
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. ~Proverbs 27:17
Walk with the wise and become wise. ~Proverbs 13:20