It’s like gulping down fresh air when you’ve been stuck in a lift. A big jug of iced water when you’re melting in the heat. Or finally letting out your breath when you hadn’t realised you’d been holding it.
The overwhelming, exhilarating relief of it. ‘You too? I thought it was just me.’
And not because your situations are necessarily identical. Or you’re facing exactly the same struggles. No, it’s something else. The joy of letting down your guard. Of seeing someone else and them seeing you – feeling like you’re known and it making you more real.
It’s the privilege of sharing how we really feel; not how we’re meant to feel or how we’d like to feel or how we think we should feel – but the actual thing itself, unwashed and heavy, dumped on the table, between shopping bags and latte. And you don’t discuss it – at least, not right away. But you know you can. Because you’re with someone safe. And after you’ve chatted about the other things and slurped through the froth – you get to it. The coffee, the bitter, darker centre, the things that you’re Really Worrying About but are too scary to face alone.
Except now your Friend is with you, so you’re not so scared.
And together, you walk around it. You poke at it,till bits start to make sense. You pray together and as you do, your friend gently unprises your fingers from its corners, so you start to let it go. You laugh a bit. Maybe you cry or apologise or make a lame joke. But gradually, your feelings start to fit: because together, you find their shape. They’re a triangle, when you thought they were a square. Or – not a tight nameless coil – but a spiral, that begins to unravel.
And over and over you’re thinking. ‘Thank God for my friend. Thank God it’s not just me.’
I think this is what’s called ‘walking in the light’
If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)