Conversations in life are often akin to correspondence online...edited. With so much communication happening through the written word, much of what is said is often edited, filtered, or enhanced. We are calculated and deliberate about what we reveal and what we hide. Yet, the same could be said of speaking to someone face to face. Rarely does anyone answer "How are you?" with an honest and revealing portrait of his or her day. Rarely does anyone really care about the answer given. It's merely a formality. Most of the time you go through life mildly satisfied with the level at which you know and are known. That is, until you are struggling with something, going through a difficult trial, or just suffering heartache. Then everything changes. You look around to find who is in the passenger's seat. You pick up the phone and pause to consider who to call. You look at your densely filled calendar and yet, don't know why you feel lonely. If someone were to ask, "How's it going?" you'd be tempted to really give him the long version. We spend so much energy barricading our hearts when vulnerability and transparency is what everyone longs for. I'm really not talking about the kind of friendship we casually refer to when speaking of dinner parties, softball buddies, or family barbecues. I'm talking about "bear(ing) one another's burdens," (Galatians 6:2) "encourag(ing) one another and build(ing) one another up," (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and "consider(ing) others more important than yourselves." (Phillipians 2:3) This is friendship with no pretense, no facade, no concern for self-preservation. This is the friend you laugh with when nothing is going right. This is who you call when your stories aren't funny and your face isn't pretty. Everyone needs a friend who does not require proof-reading, spell-check, or editing. Censorship from reality can protect and deflect, but the safety of a true friend dissolves any need for airbrushing at all.
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