I have 423 friends.
Of these, seventy four say they follow me.
The truth is I can barely count on two hands what’s really worth counting.
In the social media world I am to be pitied.
In the blood, sweat and tears world someone should smack me upside the head and wake me from my virtual reality coma.
No one can maintain, never mind sustain, four hundred and twenty three relationships. No one can do it with seventy four, unless, of course, these relationships are defined by likes and hearts and hashtags. Even Jesus, out of his twelve closest mates, had only one best friend if the beloved John had anything to say about it.
C.S. Lewis writes, “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: What! You too? I thought that no one but myself….”
It is a realization we get when we sit on the bench, or laugh across a junior high cafeteria table or bump shoulders at the office water cooler, and look into the face of someone who gets what we get. Sees what we see. Has thought the same wild, fantastical, out-in-left-field things we’ve thought.
Somehow we are surprised by this.
Surprised that we have made a connection based not on economics or popularity or a shared neighborhood, or even likes or dislikes. Instead, our connection happens with this other being, this different human, because of the “Aha Of Understanding.”
It is on this path of true understanding that friendship at its purest, deepest level occurs.
It is not to be confused with the path of total agreement or even the sharing of the exact same philosophies or values.
It is an even deeper the path; one of knowing and being known.
Sometimes we speak this knowing with words, oftentimes without.
I know your joy.
I know your pain.
I know why you think that is funny.
I know why that makes you cry.
And you know it about me.
Jesus said it like this: I no longer call you servants, because a master doesn’t confide in his servants. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
I have told you everything…..
We come to an understanding even in the Kingdom.
Shouldn’t it be so in our closest relationships?
In this particular Aha moment we walk toward a place of simultaneous deconstruction/re-construction.
When we meet someone who gets us and we get them, our prejudices, fears, and inhibitions deconstruct…maybe not right away….but cracks begin to appear in our protective walls and something inside is….relieved. It is because the weight of not being known is, and always has been, too much to bear.
The marvel that is The Aha Of Understanding is that while a deconstruction is happening, a re-construction is going on, too. It’s like we can actually feel strands of unbreakable cords being woven together right there in the kitchen, all of us still in our pajamas and bed hair and morning breath on the 26th year of Girls Weekend.
Friendships are formed within seasons and I am blessed to say that many of these I will take with me into eternity.
The season of my girlhood, the years that saw me awkward and acne-ed, flat and crooked in all the wrong places, was a season when four friends sat on the bench with me and in due time we experienced our Aha moment.
We shared Harry’s Pizza, cokes and Friendly’s french fries, football games, basketball games, a scary gym teacher, a funny math teacher, Pine Tree escapades, drive-in mishaps, cars, boyfriends, locker rooms, beds, beach towels, and beers. It was in these places we championed our successess and confessed our failures.
We knew and we were known.
Five girls, some of us soft in the belly now, yet soul-muscled from forty years of letting down walls and constructing unbreakable bonds, mark the calender for a weekend get-away every summer where we come to an understanding.
We see and are seen. We get and we are gotten. We have embraced the deconstruction and the re-construction.
To my girlhood friends: here’s to GW2016