Can you be happy for me?
There’s a colorful balance to my life right now that I’m tiptoeing around like it’s a sleeping baby. Like it’s not alright to say aloud that I’m happy.
Psst. I’m happy.
Is that alright with you? Have I broken the rules? Was I supposed to keep that to myself?
Why are we so superstitious about sharing unfettered joy, as if the goodness we can receive from God for faithfully trusting him or the benefit produced from diligent work is at the cost of someone else’s misfortune? We live like the universe is a seesaw, and if we enjoy being on the up-in-the-air side too very much, the mean kid ruling the on-the-ground side will step off and drop us violently.
Important relationships are brittle at the extremes. I’ve had friends before who preferred me during my most anxious days because it gave them a chance to wear their big red cape. But I don’t want to have to manage my high’s and lows for other people. It’s hard enough just living through them.
Several years back, I failed to catch a pop fly in the front yard, and took a softball to the face which relocated my jaw. After a late night repair in the emergency room, I was sent home to heal with eleven of my top teeth wired together at the gumline.
Now that you’re picturing my face, just picture my poor husband. He says of that day that he wishes he could forget what he saw, but that didn’t stop him from waiting with me, as I held a towel over my face, for six hours until an oral surgeon showed up to fix me. If he did lose his cookies, he never told me.
For the first few days following the accident, I needed to call around and tell my people what happened. Family and friends audibly winced through the story, but most people just asked to be kept informed about whether I needed any help. I really didn’t, my arms and legs were all perfectly fine and I had field trips to chaperone, basketball games to attend. But before I got back to that schedule, while I was still Frankenstein, one of my friends told me she was coming over, and she wasn’t taking no for an answer.
Ever since then, I have understood something I couldn’t have learned any other way.
When things are good, cheer loud and long, but when things are bad, just come quickly.
Oh gosh, it’s hard.
I much prefer when a newly engaged couple lands on our couch fresh from the proposal, wondering if we have any champagne! We love those friends. And when that same couple suffered the loss of their baby, we joined them in their agony across the miles. Today we pray them forward knowing the next news will be unspeakably good.
If we can’t do both – manage our brokenness and our euphoria, then what kind of friendship is this?
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