True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves. We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us. We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are, they’ll leave. But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives to us. Friendship is about risk. Love is about risk. If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it’s something else, but if it’s really love, really friendship, it’s a little scary around the edges.
-Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines
I really have been appreciating this book. The author appeals for a life of celebration and in doing so, has challenged me and provoked thought about friendship, God, and life in general. The above excerpt resonates with me in a special way…and I will tell you why.
In high school I was a listener and observer, and only that; I didn’t often speak my mind or share my innermost thoughts. I refrained because I didn’t think anyone wanted to hear. Sure, they would ask questions and listen for the first 30 seconds, but it was clear to me that what I was truly thinking didn’t really matter to them.
I carried this attitude with me into college, but it was here that I was challenged to think differently. Many people and conversations contributed to this, but I remember one in particular. Last fall I was talking to someone about how I don’t often share everything because I can sense when people stop listening, or when they are judging me, and I don’t want to be a burden to them. His rebuttal was that through this, I am really hurting myself—and that maybe whomever I was speaking to really might want to hear…he or she just didn’t know it yet. So henceforth I have been challenged to really speak my heart, regardless of the other person. This endeavor has not been an easy one; it has been a journey filled with frustration, sadness, and joy. Though there have been times that I have been asked a question, been in the midst of pouring my heart out, and then been interrupted and forever halted, there have also been strengthened friendships—and that, I think, is worth it.
Additionally, I was told that I owe it to myself to share. I struggled with this thought all year and until recently was still unsure what it meant. Now I know. Not only have my friendships grown, but I have also been able to process my thoughts through sharing. I would posit that it’s important to talk about…whatever, if only to figure out what you are trying to say in the first place.