Monday, April 19, 2010

Holding Up a Mirror

By Belinda

Our conversation was personal and filled with laughter. I told a story that concerned me, and before the three of us parted, I said, laughing, "What was said in this car, stays in the car!"

One of my friends asked directly, "Why? You aren't worried I might say something are you?"

I said, "Yes!" a little nervously, thinking back to times when things had slipped out. We talked more about it later that day, laughing about our earlier conversation, and I said that I hoped she wasn't offended by my quick "Yes."

She wasn't, she said. She  understood that I was just making sure...

The next day I told my story to another friend, adding to it the exchange with my first two friends. We laughed as much as I had with my friends in the car. I didn't give a thought to sharing a story that was my own, after all.

When I told one of my first friends of my second conversation, she said, "I hope you didn't share..." and she mentioned something personal to her that had become part of the story by then.

Unthinkingly, I had, I confessed. To my dismay, I realized that I, the introvert, so concerned about my own privacy, had not been so careful with another's--and I hadn't even realised it.

My friend forgave me. Once more I was grateful for the grace that is automatic in my closest friendships.

It was a moment of truth that was needed. I am so quick to see things from where I stand; a position in which I am not perfect, but far less flawed than I really am. How glad I am that I have friends that will hold up a mirror from time to time.

And who love a friend who fails in the very area in which I doubted them.


Marilyn Yocum said...

As iron sharpens iron....
I love how friends sharpen each other in this way and pity the person without friends for this reason.

You made me think this morning of someone I've noticed doesn't have close friends, her ways are so off-putting. She keeps people at bay. Over the years if she'd been blessed with close friends, they may have helped smooth down her edges a bit and she would have helped them, too. This thought introduces a sliver of compassion into my thinking about her. Much needed.

Appreciate your transparency in this post today!

Anonymous said...

When iron sharpens iron, sparks fly. But do they have to?

There comes a place in a friendship, though, I think, where it doesn't have to be "iron sharpens iron" anymore. When there is a collision like the one you described, quickly followed by mortification on both sides which sounds something like "I can't believe you did that!" from one party and "I can't believe I did that either!" from the other party. Yeah, two hearts can know each other well enough to understand that there is no real harm done - because no harm was meant and so no real offence is taken. There can (and should be!) an honest dialogue about how each other felt, and a bringing of the issue out into the light, each expressing their feelings about it, but then both can carry on the journey arm-in-arm, laughing about it for years to come.

A perfect balance forms between "I'm mortified that you did that," and "I'm mortified that I did that too!" And then everyone cracks up and gets on with life... except that someone has to write a blog about it first. But I won't say who... :) And the other person has to swallow their pride a bit knowing someone knows something about them that they'd rather they didn't know, but comforted by the fact that their friend wouldn't have exposed them if it really was all that important - except to their pride maybe.

And that's that.

Susan said...

Boy, this post would be alot more fun if you just came out and shared the story you've carefully veiled! :)

I appreciate Marilyn's comment. Very profound. (Wish I'd thought of that. But glad someone did!)

Belinda said...

Anonymous, thank you for that wonderful comment, so well put. And Marilyn too--yes, I feel sorry for those who don't have friends to shave off the rough edges. I feel very blessed to have them and be one to others. Susan--you make me laugh. Since you were slap bang in the middle of this, can you imagine me coming out with THAT story? :)

mercygraceword said...

I love that God loves us enough to allow these things that keep us humble, and thankful. Time after time God shows me my tendency to do the very thing I was judging in another. He is so merciful and long suffering, and friends that will be the same are a blessing.


Belinda said...

Ha ha Deborah, my friends have plenty of practice at being merciful and long suffering and I have many opportunities to be humble and thankful. Blessings to you, friend!