and in! I’m sitting in Grounds for Thought, enjoying an afternoon of quiet contemplation and writing. The only complaint I could possibly have about my afternoon so far is that it seems to be about as cold inside as it is outside. At least the temperature is a relative heatwave compared to the sub-zero temperatures and windchills of the past few days.
This week has been exceedingly interesting. I have somehow managed to be behind in my homework since before I even attended all of my classes for the first time. Thankfully, the vast majority of my homework is reading, which I love to do. Classes are cancelled Monday due to Martin Luther King, Jr. day, so I will hopefully catch up and possibly work ahead a little then. Speaking of Martin Luther King, Jr., I was watching some show on TV with my roommate earlier this afternoon, and there was a commercial about some kind of celebration or ceremony in his honor on Monday. While briefly highlighting his life, the commercial said this, “He had the strength to fight and the courage to love.” Think about that. It is fairly profound, at least to me in this particular of junction of life at which I find myself.
You see, I am at a place in life where I am beginning to realize the battle that I am in and my place in that battle. I am finding that I do have the struength to fight, but only through God (and consequently, only by believing truth). I am also beginning to fully realize what it means to truly love someone. Let me tell you, it does take courage. Loving someone requires sacrifice – of yourself, your time, your comfort, and your security. You must be willing to pour yourself into that person. To be there for them. To be willing to listen to them. And to be willing to be extremely vulnerable with them. Typically, when I think of vulnerability, I think about being completely open and transparent about the deep issues in my life. And that is part of vulnerability. And that part can be extremely difficult. Opening up and sharing about deep issues and situations and how they affect you – letting someone see you hurt and needing love – is not easy. I used to think that that was all that vulnerability was. However, I realized the other day that there is more to vulnerability than simply letting someone hear about all of your problems. Once you have done that, the next step is to continue to tell that person all of the random, pointless, unimportant, trivial, mundane details about your life – the person who randomly smiled at you, the friend you ran into, the jokes your professor attempted to tell in class, etc. At least in my friendships, once I open up about my issues, and we are there for each other, we cease telling each other about the everyday and the mundane. In a way, we close off part of our lives to each other. True, transparent vulnerability demands sharing all aspects of life together, not just the mundane, but also not just the deep.
And so, not only am I fighting to believe truth, I am also fighting to love. To trust God enough to have the courage to be transparently vulnerable. Thankfully, I have friends who do love me, are patient with me, and are willing to call me out on not being transparent. Strangely, as difficult and excruciating as it can be to trust and be vulnerable, it is more rewarding than I could ever have imagined. My friendship with the person that I am currently most vulnerable with is beyond amazing. It is very free and open. I know that he cares; he knows that I care. We can share all aspects of life. And we also know that no matter what happens in any aspect of life, we will be there for each other. I do not have to be afraid of his opinion or reaction because he already sees me for who I am . . . I’m not shutting him out of some side of my life that would surprise him. It is good, delightful, and amazing. Loving him is teaching me what it means to love. How can I possibly love the people of the world if I can’t love my friends?