Sometimes we need to be invited, even into the most familiar places. We need to be told, “It’s okay. You are still welcome here. I still want to hang out with you.”
Yesterday I received such an invitation. One friend extended it to me on behalf of Another. I had been avoiding the other Friend for a while, scared that He didn’t want to hear from me, and also scared of what He might say. But, as He taught, “there is no fear in love” and as that is pretty much who He is I really shouldn’t have been that frightened.
Fortunately, He is full of compassion, and so is the friend, Laura, who spoke His words. She saw that I had been keeping to myself, staying away from the best place I’ve ever known because I didn’t think I was allowed to go there. She saw my fear too, and understood it. She had stood in a similar place once. That made it possible for me to hear her when she exhorted me to talk to Him. She pointed out the irrationality of staying away just because of a disagreement.
Real friendships are bigger than that. I believe this to be true of my other friendships, and expect to be accepted and loved despite difference of opinion. But for some reason, when it came to Him, the one who has been a better friend and who loves best, I anticipated rejection and was ready to accept it as my just desserts. Laura, by inviting me to spend time with Him, reminded me that He still loves me, still wants me to come to Him.
Because of her encouragement, I broke the silence yesterday and it was good. A little awkward, but definitely good.
This whole experience, though, reminds me of how absolutely incredible this life of faith is. While Laura and I were talking, I did not see it, but as soon as I walked away and reflected on her words, I realized that our Friend had been there with us. He and she were unified. She spoke; He gave the invitation.
I am grateful to them both.