Smiling happy faces.
Cheery reports of birthday parties and nights out with friends.
We see it scrolling through our feed on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even in our hallway recaps with others at work and church and school.
I didn’t realize, until this past week, how little time I’ve spent with people behind closed doors.
I’ve had quick hellos and Facebook comments and even an occasional email, but no true and deep connected conversations since the holiday season began.
Frenzy. Vacation time. Travel. Playing catch up.
All combined to lead to superficial encounters.
Then the past week happened.
I had deep and meaningful conversations.
Not only did I leave reconnected to the human race, but I left with my eyes reopened.
Life looks extraordinarily different behind closed doors.
We have no idea what is happening behind closed doors.
I had no idea what was happening behind friends closed doors. And no one knew what was happening behind mine either.
You put on a smile and make nice. You only say what someone would want to hear or read. No need to mess up their day with the troubles of your life.
A close friend recently said, Instagram really only likes to see happy images. So post your pretty pies and sunsets and inspirational quotes, but nothing heavy.
That’s okay. In fact, maybe it’s even better in this culture of sharing every moment and every feeling without time to filter and vet and process. Unfortunately though, our ever busy lives leave us with less time to deeply connect. So we forget everyone is struggling and we’re all in this together. We can grow lonely, bitter and disenchanted.
In the past week, I made time for sofas. I love sofas. Small comfy spots designed for connecting. I sat in living rooms on sofas with women and swapped stories. Funny ones and crazy ones, but honest ones as well. One on one. Reminders given to each other not to share these details because we hadn’t told anyone else about this struggle.
What a gift those confidences are. But they reminded me how much no one really knows. With less time for deep, in-person relationships and a need to make everything Pinterest-perfect for acquaintances, we’re losing the ability to shoulder one another’s burdens. To pray for each other and cry with each other. To share our own stories of been-there, survived-that.
When the hard things hit, they can rock your marriage, your health, your faith, and your world. When I look at scripture, it reminds us to, very intentionally, be there for one another:
Bear one another’s burdens… (Gal. 6:2)
As steel sharpens steel, and one friend sharpens the other. (Prov. 27:17 – The Msg)
By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped. (Eccles 4:12 – The Msg)
The godly give good advice to their friends… (Prov. 12:26)
Two are better than one.. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow... (Eccles. 4:9)
There’s a great refrain by Lauren Daigle:
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust in You
Having time behind closed doors with good friends to share what mountains you face helps resuscitate your faith. It reminds you you’re not alone. It lightens each of your burdens simply by sharing it with another.
In these hard times, carve out time for friends. Invite a family over for dinner. Meet a girlfriend for coffee. Make these times to connect a top priority when you are struggling most.