Over the weekend, my sister and I made a bold move–WE LEFT THE HOUSE. I know, I know. And it gets even more unbelievable when I tell you what we did: we went to a movie theater to see a grown-up movie. Like, not something animated by Pixar. Again, I know.
And while I wouldn’t typically cite Pitch Perfect 2 as a top resource for valuable life lessons, one popped up in the first few minutes of the film and refuses to shake itself from my mind. In the movie, a newscaster (spoofily) noted that “wearing underwear is a choice we make every day.” Hot dang! What a silly truth, but it is true. It so is. Perhaps not one of the bigger choices we make, but definitely one that matters.
The thing is, life is full of these choices, underwear-related or otherwise. Some more important, some less so. But choices–lots and lots of them–fill our days. We choose to get up in the morning, to clean our house, to take our kids to school, to lovingly heat-up leftovers from the night before for our dinner, to stay up and watch the end of Mad Men versus going to bed at a sane hour…but I think, of most value, we choose to be there for those around us.
You see, life hands us turns. Some bad, some good, most somewhere in between. Yet recently, there have been a many hurting paths I’ve crossed. Pretty awfully badly hurting, to be honest. And in turn, my heart aches for them. I’ll be straight, I can hate feeling the feels. My decidedly introverted self stubbornly longs to hole up with a book sans doing something as shocking interact with another person. Horror!
But this is how God made me. This is how he made us. This is who we are. We’re going to care about the people He put in our lives and we’re going to love them. Even when it hurts. Because they hurt.
While I may not always want to care, to rather hole up in an ivory tower of contented privacy, it’s not where I’m called. God calls us to the muck and the mire. He calls me to choose to be there.
And you know what? I like myself better when I am there. When I’m where others are. Yes, sometimes this means that my own schedule and days and household will be a little less tidy and pulled-together. That’s okay, I was never good at the tidy house thing anyway. I’d rather have dirty counters than miss the chance to support a friend.
We are called to care.
To throw open the door to people who need to walk into our homes and sob over their reality. To not judge them. At all.
To be there for them where they are.
To be so real our hearts break.
It is not an easy thing in this world of Pinterest-fab organized closets and gorgeously-designed age-appropriate playdates to feel comfortable hanging out in anything less than pretty perfection. To embrace people where they are at and support them regardless of our own yearning for order and non-yuck.
Yet this is exactly what we need to do.
It’s been wonderful to find real friends through this world of online blogging. It’s been precious to embrace the few in-real-life friends who “get it”. Yet I mourn that in the very picture-perfect suburbia where I live, more realness isn’t easily found.
“Fine” as an answer to “How are you?” will never work for me. I wish it would, as it would be so much easier.
But you see, I don’t see the exterior, the shining athleisure and its ideally-cut yoga capri pants; I see the heart. I see the heart of who we are. The heart of who we could be, and the heart that yearns to connect and be carried.
I see it, and I choose to love it.
Because all of life is a choice; a choice to be the best of our most real selves in the moments that beckon us to selfishly ignore our surroundings.
How do you do it?
Tell someone you care.
Allow them to see your own imperfection so they feel safe sharing their own. Yes, I’m telling you the sloppy pony and stained yoga pants at preschool pick-up are good things.
Listen and pray for them.
Ignore your own fear of reaching beyond yourself and choose to do it.
When a friend texts you, “Evening plans: taking a bath, drinking straight from the bottle and getting my ugly cry on”, laugh because it’s straight-up hilariously real. LOVE THEM FOR BEING BEAUTIFULLY THEM.
It is an everyday choice to be kind, to be real, and to be there. And it matters. So very much.
I can’t promise a lot on this earth, friends, I’ll be honest. Endless bedtime stories and remembering to fill water bottles before school drop-off suck a lot of energy. But I can promise to always be real.
Will you make the choice, every day, to join me? We might just go ahead and bless each other 😉