And the truth is, we all do.
But tragically, especially for women, community is complicated. If we are honest, we have all been on the receiving end of a hurtful community or friendship. The past wounds inflicted on our heart from other women, leave us questioning whether it is even worth it. The emotional reactions that surface when we think of past experiences are bitter and real. Disappointment burns, betrayal bites, women and their words wound so deeply. And yet, we desire a community where we can be real and raw and broken and messy - a community where we can be transparent and vulnerable with no fear that we will be met with criticism and judgement. We want a community that takes on the posture of Jesus, where God shows up, and where the Spirit weaves. We deeply need community with other people - with other women. We want to know other women intimately and, we need to be known in the same way, and we need to be safe in the knowing. We need a place where we can know that it is okay to not be okay, and where we do not have to answer every "How are you?" with "Fine". Because none of us are fine, and it is okay to not be fine.
For a lot of years, I have learned to hide behind that "fine". I have hid for so long, that now at 33 years old, I am just uncovering the real me - the one that doesn't have to be hidden. The one who doesn't have to pretend to be perfect and put-together in order to be accepted. I have lived a lifetime of surface relationships, arm-length friendships, withdrawal, isolation, masking - faking. I thought I had to in order to be liked and accepted, and while it band aided the pain of rejection, it kept me from being healed and redeemed in community. It kept me from community. It kept me jaded and cynical and not able to maintain deep friendships, because although I am an introvert, I don't do shallow well, or small-talk. I like to go deep fast, get to the heart, but that is terrifying - for me and probably for other women.
I am desperate for community though, and friendship with women. I finally am beginning to see that this is what I am craving - a safe place to laugh and share stories, to cry with and for one another, to enter another person's pain and journey and life. My defenses and callousness and hurts and fears need to be melted away. I need a community where I can mess up and not be a good friend, and be grabbed by the neck and not let go. Because I won't be good at it - at least not right away. I want to be bare before my sisters - blemishes, scars, warts and all. I desire that genuine connection that God desires for us all. I yearn for community, and am excited about the women that God is putting into this new season of my life.
The best is yet to be.