Her sink was piled high with dishes, and her fridge looked like it had barely survived an attack by hungry teenagers. Toys littered the floor, and plastic sheeting covered one entire wall courtesy of the new windows they were having installed. For all practical purposes, things were in chaos, and she had prefaced my visit with the words, “Jen, it’s a war zone.”
But here’s the deal. None of it mattered.
Because when you’re best friends separated by hundreds of miles and mountain passes, and when you are forced to miss births and job changes and kindergarten graduations and holidays, you cherish any time you have together — regardless of the crazy.
When you’re with your people — you know, the ones that really matter to you — nothing else matters except for sharing life together.
It could be a long-overdue visit from a college friend, or a weekly family dinner where all of your extended family gets together under one roof to eat and laugh together. Whatever the situation, the environment of such gatherings takes a serious back seat to the people you are with.
Dear ones, isn’t that how it should be? Don’t we all crave to be welcomed into other people’s real lives and to welcome them into ours? Don’t we long for relationships that aren’t contingent on how “together” we are, or on how good we are at acting like life isn’t one big ride on the crazy train?
When we can let go of the superficial things in life, we can truly begin to enjoy the relationships that make life worthwhile.
The hard thing is that letting go requires us to admit we aren’t perfect, and to release control of our image. (Yes, my friend, that is 2 decades of kitsch stuffed into my hall closet . . . and I have no idea why I can’t seem to purge. I am officially on my way to becoming a hoarder featured on TLC.)
Somehow letting people see the real “us” can be hard, can’t it?
We womenfolk are way better at giving other people grace than we are at giving ourselves grace, and so we inevitably keep ourselves from experiencing the freedom of letting someone in. You may not care one lick that your sister-in-law’s 3 dogs leave hair everywhere, or that her lawn is always overgrown, but heaven forbid you let someone see your own dust bunnies or dirty bathrooms. After all, they may not like you after they see your crazy, right? Wrong. This is a lie we tell ourselves; it is absolutely untrue.
Life happens. It is messy and chaotic at times, and that is ok. If we can stop holding on to the notion that we need to have our ducks in a row all the time, we will be free to experience real, unfiltered relationships.
That visit I had at my best friend’s house? Best 3 days ever. Mess included.
There is something so real and raw and wonderful about just living life side by side, cherishing the moments in the midst of the mess. And when she comes to visit me this summer, you can bet that we will have a great time, regardless of the laundry climbing my walls or the dog hair clinging to every couch or the month-old stickers all over the dining room window.
Here’s to a life not governed by silly self-imposed “rules” or “images” — to a life measured not in pretty facades, but in unfiltered, deep, meaningful relationships.
Related: Share a sweet treat with a friend on these inspiring dessert plates, and remind your friend that you’re in this together, always.Leave a Comment