Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, and live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11
Friend to Friend
They started talking about us the second we walked out the door. You could almost feel the anticipation in the room—no one wanted to shoo us out, but they were all waiting for us to leave so they could talk about us. We didn’t fit in. It was obvious.
Later, I asked my friend how long it took for people to start talking about us after we left. And as I suspected, it began as soon as the door had shut behind us. We laughed about that, she and I, because really, what else do you do?
Our friendship began when she started working for me. I hired her to help twice a month with some housework, and I had been praying for her long before she came into my life. My degree is in Spanish, and it turned out that my Spanish is way better than her English, so somewhere in the middle of all that, we built a friendship.
Lupe is my friend. But we come from and live in different worlds.
So the day she invited us to her house for her son’s birthday party, I knew that if I ever wanted to bridge the gap for her to come here, we would need to go there first. The reason is simple. If you really want to build a bridge, you have to take the first step to know if it will hold or not. When we are divided by different worlds, the gap won’t close until we make a move to close it.
I want to tell you that when we went, there wasn’t a single second of awkward and that we were instantly treated as family. I want to tell you that they taught us how to salsa and we danced the night away under piñatas and twinkly lights in a big backyard talking and laughing and feeling more at home there than if we had stayed at home.
But I can’t.
Even knowing the language, my brain can’t keep up with the cacophony of thirty different voices at a party. So I awkwardly engaged one patient person at a time and translated for my husband as we went.
One of the ladies who works with Lupe said to me in Spanish, “Oh wow! I didn’t expect to see you here.” I could hear a few people ask, “Who are the gringos? Why are they here?” We were welcomed for sure, and all made definite efforts to engage one another, but man, the gap was a wide one!
We weren’t the first ones to leave, but when we did, Lupe insisted I take home some of her homemade posolé.
Lupe told me later that her friends were amazed we came. In fact she talked so long about how shocked they were that I discovered a deeper level of this truth: If we want to love people well, we must learn how to do so at the expense of our own comfort.
It’s so much easier to talk about bridging gaps than it is to actually do it. But Lupe makes a way for me in her spaces, and I make a way for her in mine. And while we wear a path back and forth between our two worlds, I’m sure that eventually those present divisions will become part of the very things we value most about one another.
Engaging the awkward, out of place, not-knowing-what-to-say moments in which we step across our own discomfort and into love, those are the times that make a life. And when we start seeing people instead of their differences, I’m convinced we will see God more than we ever could have before.
Dear Lord, thank You that out of a love so great for us, You willingly walked through not only discomfort but also even pain. Give us opportunities Father to rejoice in that extravagant love and to work towards restoration, unity, and peace among one another. Thank You for Your creativity in making Your children unique, and Lord, I pray that we would see more of You as we celebrate the ways You have made us different from one another. Lord, make us more concerned with love than we are with our own comfort. Show us more of You as we learn to love one another well.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Think of someone with whom you can forge a relationship simply by being willing to potentially feels out of place. Reach out, build a bridge, and see all the ways God will open your eyes more fully to Him.
More from the Girlfriends
Logan Wolfram would give you full access to her pantry if you lived next door. She is a plate-juggling mom and interior decorator turned author, speaker, and host of the Allume Conference. She is a passionate leader who desires to see women live fully in Christ. Logan is the author of Curious Faith; Rediscovering Hope in the God of Possibility and is currently working on her second book, set to release fall of 2018. Along with her husband, Jeremy, she divides most of her time between wrangling two inquisitive boys and a 175-pound dog named Titan. They reside in Greenville, South Carolina.