It's been a tearful kind of day. Some days are like that--you just need a good cry.
I cried watching a tivo'd episode of The Bachelorette if that tells you anything. It should at least tell you that my tearful day has, perhaps, gone a little extreme.
The tears on my cheeks now, though, aren't the sappy kind. They aren't the hurt feeling kind or the angry kind.
They're the learning kind. The kind that say, "We're here to stain this moment on your memory. You won't soon forget this truth." The kind that roll down your cheeks as you nod and think, "It hurts, but it's so good to know."
Girls are mean to each other. So often. For the summer, I'm teaching third through sixth grade girls on Wednesday nights. A few weeks ago our lesson was: A girl after God's own heart...loves her friends at all times. It was the hardest lesson I've had to teach them. It's easy to say "Obey your parents" or "Serve your family", "Read your Bible" or "Share that you love Jesus"; but friends?...where could I even start?
Friendships have never been easy things for me. They're not easy any of us, I know, but in my life, they've been one of my biggest areas of hurt. How could I tell them the truth? How, with sparkly butterflies and zebra print walls, could I explain to them that their friends would hurt them? That the girls to whom they handed their secrets could possibly stab them in the back, use their weaknesses to hurt them, and worst of all--they could walk away, leaving them lonely, wounded, and vulnerable. How could I tell them that with all of that, they still need to love them?
Most of all, how could I tell them any of it...when I knew I'd never really been that friend?
We struggled through that lesson. I'm grateful beyond words that it's the Spirit who speaks--and not me--when it comes to those little girl hearts. The truths that we poured over have been sticking with me since that night weeks ago.
Tonight I was curled up on the couch, listening to a friend express her hurt feelings. A happy thing showed up in her life, a thing she really wanted, and another friend's jealousy was ruining it for her. That other friend's insecurities were making this sweet girl wonder if her happy thing was worth it...or if she should forget about it all together. I reminded her that this was a good thing--that she is allowed to be happy. We talked about being considerate of her friend's feelings, but that, honestly....the truth was, her friend was jealous. Her friend was insecure. Her friend was ruining this happy thing, because it was what she so desperately wanted.
The tears are with me now, because halfway through me boosting my friend's stomped feelings, I realized that I had the same attitude as her happy-killing friend. I hadn't voiced it. I hadn't said a word about it, but I wanted the happy thing. I didn't want her to have it. I was just as guilty of letting my jealousy and insecurity get in the way of her happy.
And there I heard it- the Truth in the moment.
"This is it, Hannah. This is where you love her. Not because it's fair. Not because you have your happy or you'll get your happy, but because this is your friend and she has her happy now...because you hurt when she hurts, and rejoice when she rejoices...because you choose to see her as more important than yourself."
I'm nodding. Tears streaming and eyes swelling. It hurts. It's true...and it's so good to know.