The word of the week is: open.
I'm joining up at the gypsy mama, where you can find a collection of posts on the same word.
Open. Open to grace, and to others.
Open. And closed.
I was talking with my good friend, Roommate, last night, and I think that she finally found me to be as open as she needed me to be. Open, accepting, full of friendship, like I used to be with her.
About two months ago Roommate told me that she had started dating a girl, was being really quiet about it, not telling many people because it is the first time she has dated a girl, and also because of all the people who judge, and that she was unsure whether she wanted to open herself up to that kind of judgment. She said that she would answer any questions I had, and was very open with me. I was closed -- I made some sort of vaguely accepting comment, and proceeded to steer the conversation away from her news.
Over the past couple of months, I have become more open, more accepting of this change in my good friend. I firmly believe that God has created each and every human to be different from every other, and that when two women love each other, that God has created that relationship, just as God creates relationships between a man and a woman or between two men. The news was simply hard for me to hear because I had given Roommate the encouragement a couple of years before to start dating her last boyfriend. Not just any boyfriend, but a serious boyfriend; they discussed marriage several times, and their relationship fell apart when he began to date other women behind Roommate's back. It was hard for me to think that I had so strongly encouraged a relationship that was not at all my good friend's desire. It was hard for me to think that she had been hiding a part of herself from me. These thoughts were working to close our relationship.
But last night, it opened back up. Opening. Widening, growing in acceptance and understanding. Over the course of the past two months, I have seen roommate a few more times and had the opportunity to listen and observe and think and put pieces together. Through a conversation she had with another friend while in my kitchen, I learned that she really did appreciate her relationship with the previous boy, that she had truly loved him, and that I had no reason to be concerned about my role in the two of them starting that relationship. I have heard her say to others that she is concerned that her friends might treat her differently. She's right -- it is something different and new, but when we open up to it, it's really not that different, or that new, or anything that should change my own friendship with her.
I enjoy spending time with Roommate, whether she is dating a boy or dating a girl or single.
I enjoy talking with Roommate.
I enjoy going out and doing stuff with Roommate.
I enjoy the occasional walk.
I enjoy movie nights.
I enjoy cooking dinner.
I enjoy having a good friend who has known me well for many years, who is easy to talk to, who is trustworthy and dependable. Just because she is dating a woman instead of a man, none of those qualities have changed.
And so last night, I finally opened up a little bit more, and became more of the friend she has known for so long. I asked her about how they started dating, just like I would have done if she was dating a man. I asked her how she felt about the relationship, just like I would have if it were a new man in her life.
When I opened up, she was finally able to share with me the joy of being in a caring relationship, the excitement of first dates and holidays, the true concern about not being able to hold hands in public.
I opened my heart, and she opened hers, and now we are both assured that our friendship? It doesn't change because of who she dates.
(Um, I got started and didn't stop when the 5 minutes were over. I think that was 10).