Sometimes I stare in the mirror on Sunday mornings and wonder why I bother. Why put on the makeup, why wear the cute skirt? Because when we see each other Sunday morning, our children bouncing up to us, the makeup covering the tired bags under our eyes–that’s not real relationship. We exchange hellos and compliment each other on our children’s outfits, discussing the way they sat (or didn’t sit) still in church today. But it’s when you look past my glasses and see the signs of tears that no amount of makeup can hide and ask, “How are you doing, honey?” when real relationship starts. It’s when you text me on Monday to find out how my week is going and are expecting a real reply.
We’re more connected than ever these days, with Facebook and text messages and Skype. But no matter how much we complain about or reveal in our Facebook statuses, that’s not really being vulnerable. It’s when you say hello in a quick private message on Facebook and it turns into an hour long heart-to-heart talk when we can really be honest with each other. It’s when we meet for coffee and that one hour we told the babysitters turns into two as we share our hearts.
It can be lonely living in a Pinterest and Photoshop world. Because when you follow me on Pinterest or find out that we both have stacks of Restoration Hardware catalogs and This Old House magazines, you’re only finding out what my decorating preferences are. It’s when you stop by my house when the lunch dishes are still in the sink and I’m taking down laundry as we talk that we really get to know each other. It’s when we have an outdoor barbecue and a thunderstorm forces us all inside where there aren’t enough chairs, not to mention anywhere to put the food, that we get beyond pretenses to just having fun.
Maybe we shouldn’t wait until we find ourselves sitting next to each other at mom’s group to be honest and let the tears come. It doesn’t matter if our makeup gets ruined at church. It doesn’t matter if some days our kids wear clothes that don’t match or we spend the entire morning in the nursery crying with each other while our kids play happily. What matters is that we’re real with each other. What matters is that we get beyond Sunday morning “hello” to the Monday morning, “how are you doing?” What matters is that we get close enough for the relationships to get messy, because that is the only way the relationships won’t be lonely.