A friend of mine recently posted on facebook a confession of sorts. For the last year, grief has washed into her life like a regularly scheduled ocean storm. Death and loss have surrounded her and her family and she has tried valiantly to be the shining light, the comforter, the wise one. And for so many of us, that is exactly what she is: a shining light radiating love into all our lives. But this light is dimming and she has tried to hide it from us, quite unsuccessfully as of late. Several of us who love her have started to poke around and make inquiries behind the veneer of joy. After several of her friends doing this one after another, she finally went onto Facebook and confessed her true condition. I am sure those were hard words to say just as they must have been a relief to speak out loud. Now we know how to help and truly be her friends.
But is she alone in this silent condition? Not at all! How many of us come to church week after week never speaking of what is really swirling around inside? How many of us give the standard answers to the how-are-you questions of “I’m doing well” and “Fine. Thank you and how are you?” We’ll sit in Sunday school and go through the lesson but never learn the lesson of love. We want to be real with God but won’t be real with each other.
If we are truly a body of Friends, how can we walk when the foot won’t tell us about the sprain? How can we write when the hand doesn’t show the cut fingers? When the throat is sore, how can we speak? And if we never share our needs, how can we fulfill Jesus’s dearest prayer that we would love one another? He didn’t say understand one another or even agree with one another but to love one another. Loving is gently laying our hands on our Friends, listening, helping where needed, and being a light in return. Let us be open with our condition and love one another as God loves us.
by Sarah Katreen Hoggatt