7 Things your Best Friends Lie to You About

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I love girlfriends.  Without them I’d scowl more, spend more money on therapy, laugh only at Arrested Development, and likely have a drinking problem.  My besties are all beautiful and funny and selfless and they all strangely pick up the phone when I call. But let’s be honest.  Even amongst friends there are half-truths.  Nice ways of saying things.  Lying.  For example:

(1) I so don’t care what your house looks like.  Now this is a bald-faced lie, because they do care.  They care because the more piles of dirty laundry, crumpled up receipts, and dirty frying pans the better it makes them feel about their own lives.  To which I say: you’re welcome.  At a minimum I owe them this, so I purposefully leave hairbrushes on the kitchen table as a token of my undying admiration.

(2) You’re not crazy.  Because honey, sometimes you are.  When you and a boy break up and yet you end up texting him multiple times in one night like “heeeeey” and “wanna meet up later?” and his response is that he’s watching a baseball game – no thanks –  but you push onward not to be deterred until said boy says “you need to get over it” and you sob for hours and text him one teensy little text that may or may not be 500 characters wishing him a healthy future because he’s so kind and wonderful? That’s a tiny bit crazy, I’m not gonna lie.

(3) You look amazing. Not true.  You are wearing yoga pants and you haven’t washed your hair since last Spring when your daughter was studying fractions and at this point you just don’t care about the external appearance of your body in public places which is why your friends lie to you and say you look amazing. You’ve gained five pounds and you need highlights.  Let’s think rationally.

(4) Let’s grab dinner next week.  What this really means is that I care about you more than simply offering lunch, because it’s not that fun dumping the kids and going to Subway, and you’re worth more than ham sandwiches, and yet it’s too much trouble to wait until the hubs gets home and change clothes and meet you someplace and pay thirty bucks for margaritas and then drive home to kids up past bedtime unbathed while the husband said “I thought you were going to be home at 10” and so they say this as a term of endearment which translates to “text me tomorrow, girlfriend.”  It’s okay.  Just agree and move onward.

(5) You are so funny! This is a common lie to cover up the underlying meaning, which is “your life is such a train wreck that it makes me cackle on the inside that I am, in fact, not you.”  It’s not that you’re funny, it’s just that your life is a combination of awkward and unfortunate events that makes other people uncomfortable when you talk about them out loud so they translate that to some form of humor.  But I take it as a compliment and invite them to grab dinner.

(6)  Call anytime.  This is a crowd favorite, because when your friends are trying to sit at a swim meet or navigate their way through Costco the last thing they want is for you to call and start telling them about your crazy complicated work situations or why your ex-husband is the way he is.  Their response is usually full of mumbles and agreeable verbals nods followed by “I gotta run” and you’re left feeling like you dumped a load on the side of the road.  But they answer the phone the next day to make you feel better, tell you you’re funny, and remind you that life will get better because you look amazing.  How do they know. They’re on the phone. 

(7) I am praying for you.  This one is sweet, and I always say thank you, but in reality this means your friend throws three kids in a bath, reads The Tawny Scrawny Lion (again), hangs out with her hubs, watches two television shows, falls asleep without brushing her teeth, wakes up in a daze at 11:30, stumbles towards her bedroom, and on the way toward her toothbrush she thinks “Lord, help that poor girl because she can’t seem to catch a break” before falling into her mattress.  But it counts.  Cut them some slack.  They pick up the phone for you at Costco for goodness sakes.

Then every once in a while, one of your really good friends will say “Snap out of it. You’re worth more than this (guy/job/heartache/stress) and you need to head to the gym and I don’t want to hear any more of your bellyaching and a woman shows stress through her stomach but what the frack ever and you need to be grateful for your life or I’m gonna drive over and slap you and you are really deeply loved by so many” and the universe is righted on it axis because truth reins supreme.  So you invite her to dinner next week, say thanks for all those heartfelt prayers, and drive to her house to drop off a bottle of wine and a card.  And if she’s home, even better, so you can sit at her bar and laugh like silly children. Because honestly, you really don’t care what her house looks like.

Liar.     

 

photo:

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Busting Rocks

 

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In Christian circles, we hear people saying with gleaming eyes that their work is their calling: their daily chores are acts of worship. And yet to all those other people, the ones sitting in mortgage companies and DMV offices and drive-through bank windows, I dare say it’s not always beautiful.

You may feel like it’s just busting rocks, and the best part of the day is five o’clock when the whistle sounds.

We all have times like this, wondering if our lives make a difference.  Thinking we might have made a horrible wrong turn and wishing we could just jump off the hamster wheel and go live in Colorado.  Midlife pushes us down like a class bully and makes us believe the lies that our jobs don’t matter and our lives are forgettable. Work can be monotonous.  The piles of paper never end.  Thursdays make you sigh and plod along to the break room and wish Kathy from accounting would just retire already.

But then I think of Jesus.  He spent twenty-nine years in a hot carpenter shop.  And not the New Yankee Workshop variety. We all glamorize it in our minds, like handsome Hollywood Jesus was sitting in a halo-filled glow smoothing out the edges of a maple sideboard. I’m sure it was really a more mundane job involving tables and benches, having to hear one guy complain about the size or some sweaty schmuck double an order but keep the deadline the same.  I’ll bet Joseph was just constantly snickering to himself, like “Dude. You don’t know who you’re talking to.”

And I realized that there is so much to be gained by the act of work itself, regardless of what we do.  Whether we usher people toward tables or settle financial books or answer phones all day – it’s a time to grow our patience, and treat others the way we would want to be treated.  We can practice our faith by cleaning out the refrigerator and helping someone with a project that was not assigned to us.  And when someone else gets credit for our work, we just smile at pat them on the back, because we aren’t made for this world anyway.  And who freaking cares if people think Bill did it all, when Bill can’t spell his own first name and people will find out in time. Give it to him.  He’s single and hairy.  He needs this.

Work is where we can really practice our faith – not by reading about it or praying on Sunday, but by respecting our elders, and apologizing when we’re wrong. When we get angry, we own it.  When we get impatient, we fix it.  And when you see someone sitting at their desk every day for lunch because no one wants to talk to them, you can stop, and listen, and truly hear their story.

Look around your office.  There are tired, unhappy, overworked people in need of YOU.  They need joy and laughter and someone to come surprise them with a Starbucks card on a Wednesday.  And when you hollah at em at the copy machine – Hey there, Maria! – do it with a smile.  You are lucky enough to be placed in the middle of a worship field.  One ripe with opportunities to display your faith.

There was once a carpenter, years ago, who put his head down and did his job, day after day, table after table, sore backs and all.  He was likely thinking, and creating stories in his mind, and talking to God on a regular basis.  And one day he stepped away from that role and into another, and changed the world.  He needed the years to grow, and mature, and so do we.

So tomorrow, as you get up for work, act in a way you’ve been trained.  Live out what you’ve been preaching to your children.  Rise early, hug your kids, plan dinner in advance, and treasure those two hours at night you have with your family.  It’s all okay, don’t you see?  You are doing well.  When in doubt, friends, hear me loud:

God has you right where you need to be.

 

 

photo:

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