I met Kyla through the Not Alone book. She submitted a wonderful piece for that, and we extended our relationship beyond. I am so thankful for her courage in sharing her story about depression and I'm glad to have her posting about intentional living today on the blog.
I once went to Confession - in my friend's living room.
I sat with my four closest friends, watching an old episode of Parks and Rec, while we waited for 9 o’clock to arrive so we could make our way to a goodbye party. The episode ended; that Amy Pohler - she’s a funny one. Netflix began to load the next episode and we commenced our chatting over our outfits and the men in our lives. Amanda asked me a personal question, and I took a deep breath before allowing the conversation return to something less important. I didn’t really want to say the words I planned and needed to say since 7am that morning. Now loaded and ready for laughter, Parks and Rec starts playing and I hope that I’ll get out of my confession. There’s a reason Amanda and I get along well. She pauses the sitcom before the first word is spoken, sets down the remote, looks at me and waits. Fudge. Now I have to do it. Thank you, girl, I really wanted to get this out. Two years of intentional community building pays off in moments like these. This was confession time, and confessions carry a load of fear with them; the possibility of rejection, of judgment, of shame. In the past, my confessions to friends wreaked so much havoc in my internal self that I steered clear of those relationships after, sure that the friendship wasn’t meant to be, anyway. I’m almost confused as I write this, because all of those feelings of guilt and shame that normally accompany my confessions, never even entered the room that night. Not once. Not before I walked into the house knowing what I wanted to say, not during the conversation, not after. It was almost as if fear never existed and the word itself held no meaning. My friends stopped their primping and looked at me with only eyes of grace and compassion. The need for forgiveness disappeared. Stories were shared, stories of empathy and truth. Instead of wanting to run away, I only wanted to run towards. Towards the building of more community, depth of friendship, and years of stories. And then we packed up, drove to a bar, and sang our hearts out in karaoke. Do you have friends who will not only hear your confessions, but encourage them? Do you fear speaking the truth about the ugly, imperfect parts of you? What can you do to be a person who both gives and receives compassion?
Kyla blogs about social justice and growing deep relationships. She loves to engage in philosophical conversations while eating ice cream from around the world, and lives as a rebellious Mennonite who ballroom dances when everyone is watching. Check out her blog at www.kylajoyful.com and follow her on Twitter.