My palms were a little bit sweaty as I sat at the coffee shop just down the street from my house. I had walked there, just a few minutes from where I live, but it felt much longer than usual. I counted every step as I headed over, which is something I don’t usually do. I think it was mostly just to have my mind on anything except the conversation I was about to have.
A friend had hurt my feelings and we needed to talk about it. To be fair, I had hurt hers as well. A little falling out for the start of the fall. (Not how I wanted to kick off my favorite season.) I wasn’t preparing for an argument or a fight; she and I are great friends and didn’t want to fight. But because I value the friendship, I wasn’t willing to sweep my feelings, or hers, under the rug.
But I still counted my steps.
Because hard conversations are still hard, even if there’s lots of love in the mix.
Here’s the thing. For years I thought it was easier to stay quiet, avoid “confrontation,” and never share my feelings if they were negative. If I loved my friends, I thought, I should just keep my hurt or sadness to myself, and move on. I just don’t like saying the hard thing. It’s not fun for me. My personality tends to lean towards LET’S HAVE A GREAT TIME, not LET’S HAVE A HARD CONVERSATION.
But the older I get, the more I recognize that the hard conversations are actually what make for the great time.
I mean, not in the moment by any means, but later. Later, when voices have been heard and the hard things have been said and the feelings have been shared; it’s like we have dug a new well in our friendship and the water bubbles up to heal and nourish and cool.
We have to dig through the dirt to find the gems. We need darkness to appreciate the light. We need the cold days to really enjoy basking in the warm sunshine. They actually go better together than apart.
So there we sat, face to face, her and I, and we said the things that hurt. It wasn’t easy. I cried. She did too. But we didn’t yell or scream (it’s just not our friendship or personalities), and we didn’t walk away before we were done. We both said what hurt, we both apologized (it doesn’t always work that way, I know), and we both walked away a little wounded and a little healed.
But here’s why we have to do it, in love. Here’s why I had to send the text to schedule the coffee to count my steps to sit across the table to say the hard things.
Because truth in love leads to health and life.
Truth in love doesn’t kill, it resurrects.
Truth in love may hurt, WILL hurt if you ask me, but it will also heal.
So when you have to say the hard thing? Say it with love. Value yourself, value your people, and be brave.