I Thought It Was Just Me

friends9Thank God for friends who are honest.

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)


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3 thoughts on “I Thought It Was Just Me

  1. YES! Had one of those conversations last Sunday and that’s exactly what it was like. So good and so life-bringing. Then there are days like today when I am just to inordinately WEARY that even the thought of texting someone feels like exertion and I can’t seem to read more than a couple of pages without falling asleep. And then I feel selfish and unproductive and life just seems to roll along relentlessly regardless, and I wonder what’s the point. But I guess it’s good to remember I don’t always feel this way. Thanks.

  2. Thanks Emma, I can relate to this… And so could C. S. Lewis apparently!

    ‘Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” … It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision – it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.’ ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

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