We moved from Texas about four months ago and continue to adjust to our new situation. One of the biggest challenges is living day-to-day life without the community of friends that we had been blessed to build over the years. The group of people we were invited to walk through life with are exceptional and we were/are better for knowing them. When we gathered, either in small groups or large, it was a time of building up and encouragement. Our friends spoke Life into us and supported us with Truth, love and generosity. I believe we did the same for others as that was the culture of the community and we adopted the values and practices of that group of people.
The thing that made it possible to be in those kinds of relationships was transparency and trust. Transparency to ask and answer the question, “how are you doing” with more than the surface comments and a sincere interest in what the answer was. There was concern for one another that resulted in open invitations to ask and answer the tougher questions about the state of your finances, marriage, relationships, emotions, etc. There was an open door to go deeper both as a listener and a talker . . . in fact, staying on the surface when there was more to it would stand out as odd or inappropriate in the culture we had submitted to.
The only way that kind of transparency could exist is that there was trust that the things revealed would be protected and respected. The counsel would meet you where you were with no promise of solving your problems or fixing your situation . . . just a promise of coming along side. There was a trust that any response which was shared was with genuine and selfless offering and based in Wisdom and Truth, not fragile and overly subjective. There was an understanding that things couldn’t always be solved over a cup of coffee but comfort could be found in the sharing. At the same time, there was open invitation to speak directly and boldly into each other’s lives; asking tough questions and offering challenging Insight which was only possible because of the trust that was built.
People and relationships are not perfect of there are bumps along the way. Taking the bumps with grace for each other and working through them with a determination to forgive creates bonds that can run deeper in 5 days spent in-depth together than talk about the weather and other such nonsense will build up in decades of “relationship.” The decision to really live life together; the good, the bad and the ugly, results in Life together that is rich and full and fully satisfying. That reality is not limited to Texas and those relationships in Texas will continue because of the investment while others that are just as rich and deep and full of Life grow on this side of the Red River.