In the end, there is only one thing necessary, the love of God. (Francis Cardinal George)
A year ago, I gave up Diet Coke. Lest you think that signals some sort of virtue I don’t actually possess, I’ll add that around the same time, I developed an affinity for drinking coffee. I mean, is it a problem when the Starbucks barista looks at you and says “grande skinny vanilla latte?” I’m not proud. However, I’ve developed a habit of meeting folks for coffee. A whole lot of these folks have been poisoned by hatred, and my entire goal in these meetings is to be the 2nd friend. Let me explain.
Recently, a long-time friend of mine shared with me that her husband, upon hearing she was meeting me for coffee commented, “Are you still friends with her?” Do me a favor and back up, read that sentence again and place strong emphasis and not a small amount of smugness on the word “her.” It wasn’t kind. Are you still friends with HER?!! Something shifted in me when she said it. You see, I’ve loved this friend in the really ugly, and I’ve taken her pain to the Lord in prayer more times than one can imagine. I’ve done the same for her husband. It stung. It poked at old wounds.
You all, satan loves to take our rejection and twist it into a raw, irrational fear that we are not enough. The more consumed we are with being slapped in the face, whether the situation be a minor one like that I’ve described here or something much more painful, the result is the same. We are less in control of our emotions, and our thinking and actions are no longer conformed to truth of the fact that God has a good plan for each one of our lives and that we are deeply loved.
I want to be the friend who swoops in after that. My desire is to be the one who reminds folks that God did not make a mistake when they were created. I’ve asked the Lord to convert the problem of my latte addiction to become one powerful conversation after another, if He wishes to use me. Maybe God can use a conversation to heal something or glorify Him. I can’t fix anything, rewind time, or keep anyone from drinking the poison, but maybe the Holy Spirit can give me some words that cause a second shift, one that says BE YOU. You are loved.
Are you too whiny? Too loud? Going through something tough? Are you embarrassed to be seen because you’re too tired to shower? Worried that you might break into an ugly cry? BE YOU. It’s okay to be sad around me. The latte will still be delicious and I’m into the ball cap you’re wearing to hide your hair. I can see your beautiful eyes better anyway. This is a no judgement zone.
I don’t care if you’re a democrat or a republican or if you made a snarky comment online that caused the eruption of WWIII in your relationship with the lady who carpools your kids home from school. BE YOU. We can agree to disagree, but don’t edit who you are thinking it’s the only way you can get a big bear hug. They’re free, all the time, unlike the latte…no matter who you are or what you think.
Do you just need a smile and a little encouragement? Are you really in the forest? Do you need real, professional help? Are you so stuck you’re not sure there’s any way out? I am not afraid of your hot mess. BE YOU. Super excited and not just a little obnoxious because you just got a big promotion or your kid won the championship? Please let me be loud and too much and crazy excited with you. I love clapping…and little known fact…I am quite a gifted hand-dancer. We can work on a synchronized hand dancing routine to your kid’s favorite song and post it on Insta to humiliate the little champ? Or, maybe scratch that last idea, ha?
Do you need someone to hold your hand? Say a prayer? Sit with you in the quiet? Are you wearing dirty clothes you slept in? I don’t give a rip. I want you to know that in this (caffeinated) place, you are enough if you just BE YOU.
In the light of eternity, few things are worth losing one’s peace over. Let’s stop drinking the poison of hatred that is swirling all around us. I want to be the reason someone believes in good people, and I’d bet I’m far from the only one.
Let’s choose to be the 2nd friend.