“Love doesn’t just look on suffering and injustice and say, ‘That breaks my heart for you.’ That, at best, is sympathy. At worst, it’s pity. No. Love chooses to insert itself into the suffering and injustice.” Alece Ronzino, “Grit & Glory“
On two separate occasions today I ran into different friends I haven’t seen in quite some time. Rather than the socially accepted, “How are you doing?” and “Good to see you.” kinds of exchanges, each of them wanted to engage beyond the superficial and let me know that I had been on their minds. As we talked I could tell this was not the kind of conversation where someone asks you how you’re doing but feigns concern while you answer and their eyes dart around to see who else they might need to connect with. The minutes I spent with these two friends was not that and their genuine concern for me means more than I can begin to express.
The last couple of weeks have been particularly difficult for many reasons, but it is the sense of abandonment that has been particularly striking. There have been a number of people who have expressed sympathy for me during these difficult days and maybe have even gone as far to say they’re praying for me (which I genuinely appreciate). But, that is far and away from inserting themselves into my journey and walking with me.
When I worked as a pastor for a local church and counseled with individuals, I would often pray for God to express His love for them through the people in their lives. Today, God showed up in the form of each of these ladies to remind me that He’s still there, He loves me, and He hasn’t left me.
I am not proud of the fact that I have an incredible capacity to be superficial and disingenuous, but I am learning to be more present in my friendships. I’m discovering that if I am to truly live my life and genuinely love people, I must be prepared to insert myself into the messiness of their lives and be willing to get a little dirt on me as well. It doesn’t always feel good and it’s rarely easy, but it isn’t about me.
So, thanks to two friends today who took a risk and inserted themselves into the messiness of my life; and thanks for letting me get a little of my dirt on you.