I was nervous. I was about to tell my friend Chastin that I was going to have to leave her bachelorette weekend early. In the chaos of job change, starting a non profit and all that entails, the process of communicating with supporters has been slow. My home church invited me to come and speak and it was the same weekend as my friends bachelorette festivities. In no way did I want to communicate that it wasn’t important to me to be there with her. I anxiously told my friend what was happening and do you know what her response was?
Nothing but grace and kindness.
Chastin told me that just because she was getting married didn’t mean there weren’t things going on in my world that were important.
She gave me a gift that day and a gift I want to give others. She told me there was room for both of us. You can’t imagine the care I felt from her. I want to be like that too.
I remember reading Shauna Niequist’s book, Bread & Wine in which she talked about something similar. She was struggling with the pain of her own infertility and yet 17 of her friends were pregnant. It was a brutal time for her during which she wrote a blog describing how she felt. Her friend Emily wanted to get lunch with her to share that she was also pregnant. Here’s an excerpt from the story in Shauna’s words:
She told me that she had read my post, and that this was the point in
friendship when sometimes two friends walk away from the other for
a while, because the pain and the awkwardness and the tenderness was
too great. She said she thought we could do better than that. And then
she handed me two pairs of safety goggles. She said, ‘When you feel
like shattering something, I’ll be right there with you. We’ll put on our
safety goggles. I’ll help you break something, and then I’ll help you
clean it up.’ She said, ‘You’ve been celebrating with me, and I’ll be
here to grieve with you. We can do this together.’”
By creating a space for “both” to be shared, friendship flourishes, burdens are carried and celebrations are richer. Isn’t this the struggle in life? To hold both joy and pain? Today I am grateful for those in my life who allow “both” and am challenged to do the same for them.