One priceless element of being in a true community is that feeling of being at home. Have you ever felt the comfort and freedom that comes with belonging to a deep, genuine group of friends? People are real. Masks are checked at the door. Weakness is okay, because weakness is a part of life, and community is a place of life.
Transparency is humbling and liberating, embarrassing and empowering. Transparency is necessary to being genuine. It also seems elusive; it can’t be manufactured, and it seems to appear when I least expect it. I have a beautiful friend who was part of a community I lived in and loved during college. She has always been an example of transparency to me, and several of her recent posts have made me realize that I took this honesty for granted. This honesty is a gift. Thank you, friend.
Heidi, Do you know why we’re friends? I remember walking into your room on our hall freshman year. I had a question about some US Government assignment. I didn’t know you at all, and never envisioned that one day we would actually be friends. I might have alluded to the difficulty of the assignment; I don’t remember. I only remember that you came out and bluntly said that it was a tough assignment and you were struggling through it. You were the first person at Wheaton who manned up and said something was difficult. The rest of us were still trying to be our high school perfectionist selves. You really surprised me, and I was immediately drawn to you.
And that was the beginning of some very great and powerful moments in my life. Times of laughter, baldly candid and vulnerable conversations, crossword puzzles, coffee dates. Living a bit of life together (when we could fit it into our ridiculously swamped schedules).
So, thank you, friend. I hope I become more like you as I keep growing up.