Inviting people to a party (especially from the comfort of my computer) wasn’t hard. Baking cupcakes and making centerpieces that don’t look like something my 4-year-old made at preschool was a bit harder, but still not that difficult.
What’s hard is getting past the “hi, how are you,” taking off our shoes and our masks, and really getting to know one another. That part? It’s HARD. It’s hard because intentionally gathering women into community (and joining them there) is choosing to reach out, to connect, to love even though you might get hurt.
It’s possible – no, probable – that one of your friends is going to let you down. She’ll ignore too many phone calls, she’ll ditch your weekly happy hour for dinner with her new boyfriend, she’ll believe a lie she hears about you, she’ll roll her eyes at your story, she’ll invite all the other girls but you, she’ll hurt you. She may not mean to – or maybe she will – but your friend will probably hurt you at some point.
So what is the point? Why should we let people in, when they’re just going to hurt us like those other people did? And, to be fair, why should they let us in, when we might end up hurting them?
We’ve all been disappointed or hurt by friends. Friends who weren’t there, who needed too much, who held back, who didn’t care. So who’s to say our new friends won’t do the same?
Nothing. We have no guarantees that the people we interact with, connect with, live with won’t hurt us. If anything, we can pretty much assume that those we let in, those we are closest to, those we love most are going to hurt us.
And they don’t have a guarantee about us, either. Nobody wants to be the first to admit it, but who hasn’t disappointed a friend? Who hasn’t said something they wish they could take back or forgotten a birthday or shared a rumor or simply not had the energy to call, to listen, to care? When it comes down to it, we’re all guilty of hurting others.
I heard a song on the radio last week. It’s a pop song that I’ve heard (and, I won’t lie, danced to) dozens of times, but I had never really thought about the words. The singer is telling a girl he’s just met, “I’m only going to break your heart.”
Well, technically he says, “I’m only gonna break, break your, break, break your heart” – and he says it over and over. But you get the message. He’s warning this person that even if he seems great and their brand-new relationship is all glitter and roses and happy dances, heartbreak is inevitable. Whether it happens tomorrow or years down the road, he’s going to break her heart.
What if we all walked around saying that? “Hi, my name is Mary. It’s nice to meet you, but you should know: I’m definitely going to break your heart.”
Can you imagine? Can you imagine if we went into every new relationship knowing that we’re going to get hurt? Not in a fatalistic sort of way, but in an attitude of acceptance and determination. What if we went into each new friendship saying, “I know you might hurt me. And I might hurt you. In fact, we can probably just count on it. But I know it will be worth it. Because you’re going to love me, and I’m going to love you. It’s going to get messy and awkward and difficult, but if we just hold tight, it will be beautiful and healing and amazing, too.”
As I think about the women that I’ve started getting to know over the past few months, the women who’ve shared their hearts and dreams and struggles with me, I’m a little nervous. It’s one thing to talk about our kids or the book we’re reading or even the stories from our past that have shaped us, but to really let someone in? That’s hard.
So, deep breath. Here goes. Hi. My name is Mary. I want to be your friend, and I’m going to break your heart.
Tell us about a new friend you’ve made recently. Or a not-so-new friend you want to get to know better!