I lift my magazine off the island counter leaving paper trails behind. The inevitable sounds by sticky residue left by the syrupy mess post breakfast with three toddlers always puts a cringe to my senses.
The den is another nightmare altogether. Toys scattered, markers strewn, costumes missing their hosts lay about. I lift up my sneakered foot (thankfully not barefooted) and notice underneath another plastic fish from their fishing game got crunched.
The stick and crunch of the moment helped me remember another sticky and crunchy situation with a friend that day. A friendship that was not yet cleaned up and spruced up in my life.
Often we think that friendships should always be clean and tidy. They should never go awry. Or should they?
Or when they do, perhaps some of us think the mess is better left shoved under a rug? Or perhaps thrown away altogether instead of figuring out how to put everything back in its proper place.
In my experience, the art of friendship is knowing how to embrace those sticky and crunchy moments with grace. To extend yourself toward mending the situation rather than placing a magazine over it, only to be ripped open, again, once the magazine is lifted. To, sometimes, look past the messiness of the moment and embrace the hidden love that was likely established through that mess.
- The strewn toys are moments where you were once enjoying one another’s company.
- The array of costumes was when you were once embracing your uniqueness and the roles you both play.
- The sticky parts when you were once feeding each other sweet-like-honey words of affirmation and grace, nourishment to the soul.
I’ve grown to believe the best in others. I believe that most people aren’t out looking for another victim to ruin. There are some of those unfortunate folks out there, yes (be careful of those, and do yourself a favor, cut them out of your life if you have them. They are not true friends.) But I believe most of us, when we end up hurting someone, it is out of ignorance with our actions and words. Most of us aren’t trying to hurt everyone around us. If you do, there’s a deeper issue in your heart that needs to be resolved.
I believe that the sticky and messy places in friendships are opportunities for us to grow and be molded into a better person.
If we continue to walk away from every sticky or messy friendship that comes our way, we will not be molded or changed into the person we are meant to become. We won’t grow or learn how to be a better friend if we don’t lean into that mess. And we may never know what kind of beautiful friendship would have blossomed if we don’t take the cultivated effort to wipe up the old sticky or fix the untidy.
Not all friendships have a happy ending. But we will never know unless we try.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17