Shortly after we moved here, we were visiting with some friends after church and they spontaneously invited us over for lunch. As we walked into their home, I noticed breakfast dishes on the counter and a sink piled with dishes. I was in shock, not because of the mess, but because our hosts didn't care.
They welcomed us into their home, mess and all. They were inviting us to live life with them. While lunch was prepared, the children played, the husbands visited, and the wives worked side by side with sleeves rolled up cooking and cleaning up. It was comfortable, relaxed, and real.
There were no excuses made, shame felt, or apologizes given. There was no need. This is how life is meant to be lived among real, genuine friends. We traverse the mess of life together. We wade through the garbage, pull up the weeds, and nurture the growth and change.
How often do I let perceptions of others hinder me from living a real life, a good story? Instead of being real, vulnerable, and a little bit messy, I strive to uphold the perceptions others have about me. If they knew the "real" would they still love and respect me? As I have been learning over the last few years and seen in the past month, if you are real and honest it doesn't pull people away but draws them closer into your life. True, genuine, real friends want to navigate the difficult times as well as celebrate in the joyous times. They want to be your anchor when sinking and your cheerleader when you succeed. There is no shame or embarrassment. There are no excuses or apologizes. These friends are there to offer love and grace, things that are often difficult to grant to ourselves.
I am blessed to have some friends in life to encourage me, support me, laugh with me, challenge me, and love me, messes and all.
do you have friends who will navigate the messy with you?