Thursday, January 15, 2009

More to their stories...

Last night a friend of mine flew in from San Fran and a group of us met downtown for dinner/dessert/drinks. This is a dear friend, close to my heart, and his being in Charlotte gathered a unique group of people from college. Most of us knew each other, some brought their significant other. It was a very interesting dynamic.

It was interesting how people were sharing what happened in the course of the past four years. After a quick review (married, moved, jobs, new jobs, vacations, a baby on the way), we settled into old stories, our laughter filling the restaurant. I felt when I looked in people's eyes, there was so much more to their stories.

I was tempted to lie when asked what I had been up to. Seriously. When asked, I would think to myself, do they really want to know? They should order another drink, because this may be awhile. But I couldnt just say I have been working in real estate because someone would ask me like this, "So the last I heard you were in Los Angeles." Then another would pipe up, "Wait I thought you were in Houston." And another, "But your telephone number is from Virginia." Here we go.

After a brief, brief, edited, summarized (notice emphasis on the small amount that I told) version of the actual adventures I have lived, they were happy. But I realized my travels as well as a slight, itty, bitty, little comment on cancer caused people to all of the sudden get real. It was interesting. Some people over the course of the night pulled me aside and wanted to talk more in depth of what "really has been going on" in their lives. Divorce, disappointment, etc.

Authenticity is refreshing. Honestly is refreshing. Now I am not saying you walk around and answer questions like "Hi how are you" with "Horrible. Never worse. I have a terrible upset stomach and my life is falling apart. How are you?" I am just saying, balancing laughter, old stories and lightheartedness with a little "real" is OK. Especially among the closest of friends. Now these were not my close friends, so that it why I didn't share details, I did not want to waste words. I guess I am just trying to get to my point about "being real" with closest friends. In fact that is what I cherish the most about my best friend. We can laugh and be silly and random, but she can also call on a whim and fall apart if needed. I called her many a times riding back from the hospital last year around midnight in tears.

I guess this is a weird confession of sorts because I am still trying to process how to get back into social settings. It sounds funny coming from someone who is so social, (I love to be the planner, always have a fun thing to do)but well there you have it. I guess with cancer you cut the crap. Conversations become so real, so alive, so meaningful. Conversations are on purpose. Laughter and lightheartedness is 10X as wonderful and more frequent, however conversations on faith and reality and heart matters were quick on the tongue as well. If someone was hurting, they said it. There was no time to hold it in, or play cool. It was then that we were able to minister to each other, offer hugs, prayers, sometimes just embracing in silence.

I don't know, I don't want people to think that I am some Debbie Downer that needs to have deeps conversation every day. I can see it now, "There's Brandee. Quick think of something deep and meaningful." No. I just want us to be honest if we need to be. If we need a friend to hear us out. That is what the Body of Christ is about. Connecting. Now don't go spill the details of your heart to the guy in line next to you at Chick Fil-A, maybe better with a good friend.
But trust me. It is a beautiful thing.

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