Recently, I had a revelation and thought I should probably share it with you, because you’re the type of people who care about community.
You understand the importance of doing life together and bearing one another’s burdens. You are invested in each person playing her part in the body of Christ, as we work together toward the kingdom of God. And you value relationships and authenticity. We all do, don’t we?
So, we get involved with a small group or a play group or a church group or a book club, and we find ourselves building friendships. We go out to lunch and we exchange recipes. We pray for one another and we celebrate with one another. We learn that some of us are extroverts and some of us are introverts. Some of us need down time and — every now and then — we all need a little bit of me time.
And so, we go on vacation or to the spa or we schedule a quiet afternoon at the library, all alone. We get energized by the little break and time to regroup, and then we step back into our lives once again — better at it, thanks to the time away.
But, we are not meant for life alone.
Right from the beginning, God modeled the very best kind of relationship for us when, working together, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit spoke the world into existence and then made a human being and decreed it wasn’t such a good idea for this one person to go it alone. We need partners and sisters and friends and lovers, and we need to be those things for one another. It is the way we were made. It is what we were built for. We were built to love God, and we were built for loving one another well.
Sometimes, however, we accidentally become the fine people. The people who are strong and who have it all together.
We don’t mean to be sending mixed messages. We really don’t. We just have a hard time admitting we need help. Or that we’re lonely. Or that we’ve slipped over the edge of sadness and can’t find our way back. We’ve gotten so used to our schedule and our agenda and our strength and our skills that we forget what it feels like to hold our two hands in the shape of a “T” and to say to whomever will listen, “Hey. Can you help me? I’m struggling, here.”
Instead, when people ask us how we’re doing, we say, “I’m fine.” See? Accidental Fine People. We really don’t mean to be that way, but sometimes it happens.
So, that’s one thing.
But, the other thing is this:
Sometimes, we are not the Accidental Fine People. Sometimes, we are the friends of people who have accidentally cast themselves as fine people.
And sometimes, we accidentally take those people at their word, even when our gut tells us differently. We don’t see that person in church for a few weeks, or they don’t show up to book club for a couple of months in a row and we are tempted to let it slide, even though we feel a tug on the inside to give them a call or drop a card in the mail. Or, we do call them, and — even though we hear a catch in their voice when they tell us, “I’m fine. It’s all good.” — we are tempted to ignore the urge we have to drive over right then and stand on their front porch to look them in the eye and give them a heartfelt hug.
These are the things we were made for. We were made to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and that’s not just a metaphor.
It doesn’t always take a grand and complicated gesture to step in where an act of friendship is needed. Sometimes, all it takes is a few minutes to follow through on that little nagging feeling you have in your gut. Sure, your friend may be telling you she’s fine, and maybe she really is, but what could it hurt to Vox her with a prayer of encouragement, or to show up at her workplace with a single orange balloon, or whatever else your heart may be telling you to consider?
The goal, of course, is not to pry and get all up in her business if she’d rather not have you there. The goal is to simply be a friend who loves at all times.
If you’ve had a feeling in your gut, or in your heart, and you’ve been thinking that maybe you should check in on so-and-so, or drop a card in the mail to a certain friend of yours, consider this an affirmation of your instinct and an invitation from the One who made us for relationship. Step away from these words and follow through. You know who you are, and these are the things we were made for.