So I wrote about the importance of alone time in an earlier post, but now I'd like to bring light to the importance of good friends, and of real relationship with others.
After church one Sunday, I went to Starbucks for some much needed “me time” and I found a little table in the corner that I made my own. While there, in my zone, with India Arie Pandora as the soundtrack, two guys came up to my table. They weren’t there to greet me, my table just happened to be where the two familiar friends bumped into each other and decided to stay and chat. I thought their stay would be much shorter, but they actually had a lengthy conversation, at my personal space’s expense. In all honesty, I was kind of annoyed at first, that they were so close to me (one of the guys was resting on the chair that my wide open bag was in), having such a long conversation, without even the slightest “excuse me”, or "Are we bothering you?” I quickly got over it though because I’ve been working on my peace and whatnot. They really weren’t bothering me, so I eventually felt silly for taking issue with it.
Since I have a minor in Ear Hustling, it didn’t take long to get all-up-in-through their convo, (their closeness made it all too easy). (Sounds like I’m still salty about how close they were lol!)
They spent about a minute getting up to speed on each other’s wives and kids, then the conversation moved organically to spirituality. One of the men, seemingly stronger in his faith than the other, started talking about an issue that God was seeing his family through. He made it clear that this was a trial that God had his hands on and that he and his wife were trusting Him through it. The other friend, inspired by the faith of his old pal, started talking about a situation in his life and how he hasn’t been to church in months. He said that the friend reminded him that he needs to get back connected and how trusting God had gotten hard to do. The faith and witness of the one friend, influenced the other and it was beautiful to see. That’s exactly what Godly friendships and connections are designed to do. Both friends were dealing with a trial, but only one had a sense of strength, power and boldness in that moment and he used all of it to encourage the other. It was such inspiration for me to hear that conversation. I was driven to strengthen my current and cultivate new friendships in Christ to serve as encouragement for my own dark times, and hopefully help lighten the loads of others as well.
My mentor asked me once if I had anyone I could 'exhale' with. I was happy that I could respond honestly, "yes.” It gave me a happy chill that I could easily recall my very own Savannah, Bernadine, Robin and Gloria; that I had my own set of gal pals that I could call to vent with at any time. (SN: If you’re reading this, thinking I just listed the names of my personal friends, then I kinda don’t trust you).
I can’t help but think of Job's friends that wept with him when I think of friendship. Job was down bad, man. He had everything and lost it all. Bruh had seven whole sons and three daughters, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 donkeys, and a huge house (Job 1:2-3 <- because God ain’t bout to get me for plagiarism). The bible says that when his friends heard that he'd lost everything, they all went over there just to sit and cry with him (Job 2:11-13). That was so powerful to me. They were so moved by his sorrow that it made them sorrowful as well. For as long as I live, I'll never forget the fallen tears of my friends for and with me in one of my lowest times. To know that at that moment, they'd take the pain away from me if they could…to really feel that from another person is unexplainably moving. That's for real ninjas only lol. Only people that truly love you are sad when you're sad and genuinely happy when things are looking up for you.
I want to point out that so many people are silent sufferers. Sometimes you think you know everything about a loved one, but could be totally missing signs of sadness, loneliness and depression. Ask your people how they're doing. Then ask them again and put “for real doe” at the end.
I can't stress enough how important it is to have real people in your circle. I have more than one close friend that isn't afraid to tell me "Naw girl, you wrong" after a venting session. People that love me enough to show me the error in my ways. Listeeeeeeen...like seriously put your ear to the screen right now and hear me when I say, WE NEED PEOPLE LIKE THAT!! There are too many people lying to us in the name of maintaining relationship. This is a cold world. If you can't get the pure, honest truth from your circle, you need to print out some fresh copies of Cynthia Bailey's friendship contract. (Hey RHOA fans lol).
And with that, know the difference between a friend that comforts you in misery, and one that simply bonds with u because of it. If you’re a cutter, and you link up with another cutter, chances are….y’all just bout to cut together and that’s not really what friendship is about. But if you’re a cutter, find someone that can sympathize and even better, empathize with you, but can help get you out of that place. That’s friendship.
Don't close yourself off, man. We need people. We need relationship. Allow yourself room to establish real friendships with people. Society encourages extreme solitude, cutting people off. Don't get tricked into thinking you don't need anyone, because you do, and if you don't at this second, you will. As much as I love my 'me' time, this world, this life, is bigger than me and I can't survive it alone. We were never really meant to.