we’re sitting in the living room, music playing, talking books, setting up goodreads accounts.
i am a reader, and y’all know this, but i have not usually talked about it here. i’m not one for goals or resolutions – although this year bailey and rachel are getting me into powersheets – but one of mine this year is to do a better job of talking about books, both here and in general, because i love them.
for the past three years, i’ve chosen my first book of the year with deliberation, wanting to use it as a way to set the tone of the year. i’m not sure how well this has succeeded, but it’s been a way for me to help knock out a few of the spiritual memoir and christian women’s books that would otherwise yet be sitting unread on my shelves.
this year, i decided i wanted to read uninvited by lysa terkeurst. when this first came out, i thought, i have to read this book. growing up, i found it difficult to make and keep friends, and i have often felt on the fringes of social circles.
this summer, i spent a lot of time with the young adults group at my church, both as a result of my mentor telling me i needed to and my own frustration with not having a solid group of friends in the area, especially having been back for the past four years. and at the end of those three months i found that i had friends and plans and a tribe, and i thought, do i really need to read this book anymore? maybe not, after all.
but then i decided i would, and my mentor mentioned that she was reading it; we decided we would discuss it once i finished. about a week ago, i decided it would be my first read of this year.
chapters five and six punched me in the solar plexus. lysa writes about losing friendships and how that upends normal, and in talking about a friendship that she lost and her desire to be found justified in her decisions, these words arrested me:
bang the gavel. be declared winner. pump my fist. feel so vindicated. walk out victorious. but let’s be honest. you’ve got two pierced souls, a friendship that ended, and a contact now deleted. is there ever really a winner in a case like this?*
no, there’s not; there hasn’t been. i have carried the fallout of my own broken friendship for six years, and i have not known how to let it go.
how is it possible to live loved in this? how is it possible to bring the fullness of God into a situation that seems to be fully dead? but then one day this terrible, wonderful notion popped into my head: fight for her.†
i am not sure what this looks like six years past, but i am camping there, on that barren ground, to learn what it means to foster growth and healing. to learn what it means to fight for people, even when you have to establish boundaries and distance. to learn graciousness and kindness, to choose them even when it’s hard. and perhaps, in fact, especially then.