Part of this healing and recovery business is that stuff comes up. I can be feeling fine, and strong, and whole – and then something will happen that will knock me for six, and my hard-won equilibrium will be shattered. It’s all part of it, I know – I’ve written university papers on the non-linear nature of mental health recovery – but it’s something I struggle with. I suspect that it’s probably something that a lot of people struggle with.
I had choir rehearsal tonight. We’re into additional weekly rehearsals as we prepare to sing Handel’s Messiah and tonight’s rehearsal was a tough one. It probably would have been less tough had I been feeling ok to begin with – but by the time we had a break I was ready go go home, and curl into a ball, and cry.
There’s another chorister, a wonderful woman, whom I really like. She’s creative, and intelligent, and witty, and one of the warmest, most gracious people I know – someone who can’t help but to express the love and kindness and welcoming shelter of God, in everything she does. She also gives amazing hugs. The kind of hugs that make you feel that everything’s going to be alright.
She’s going through a tough time at the moment and she’s handling herself with her customary good humour and self-deprecation. I’m full of admiration for her and tonight I gave her a hug because I love her and I wanted to show that, and because I thought she probably needed one. But I wonder if she knew that I needed a hug too, because the hug she gave me in return was even bigger and tighter and warmer than usual. And I felt guilty, because in trying to give comfort, I was taking comfort. In trying to give love and support, I was drawing love and support from her.
And that’s what I’m learning about friendship. That it’s ok that there’s mutuality in the giving and receiving of love – that I receive comfort and give it at the same time. There’s grace in that. In allowing this wonderful, special woman to minister to me – even in the context of me trying to be a good friend to her – I was not only trying to show the love of God, but I was also trying to be open to it. The love of God was flowing both ways tonight – not just one.
Which is kind of the way the love of God is supposed to flow, I think.