The phone rang one morning. It was one of those rare instances when I didn’t even bother to look at what caller ID displayed. So when I heard the voice of a long-time and much loved friend, it was a welcome surprise.
She asked “How are you?” It’s a question we are asked so often. I think we rarely answer with our genuine status. I replied to my friend “Do you want to hear what I tell most people, or do you want the “real” answer? She, being a true friend, wasn’t afraid of the answer and gave me permission to be real.
Most of us tell the world and the people in it that we are “fine” or “good” or “well” as a polite reply to a polite greeting. But on those rare occasions when we are looked in the face by someone who cares or are called on the phone by a true friend, we can share a glimpse of what’s really happening in our lives. I’m so thankful for the people in my life that let me be me….the ones who don’t expect me to sugar-coat days that are less than perfect. It’s freeing and therapeutic to be able to honestly share our troubles. It lightens our load in life. And somehow, sincere love and sympathy sucks some of the pain from us.
My friend was careful not to pity me, but to state she was sorry for what I was going through. I felt heard and validated. I felt cared for and about. And my day was better.
Then with the truth revealed, it was natural to talk about all of the good things that are also part of my life and she was free to share the good, the bad and the ugly of her life too.
I hope God blesses her in some way for her act of kindness toward me. I hope I’m that kind of friend for others.