Today, I put aside studying for the afternoon so that my 11 year old could spend that time with her best friend, and I could do the same with my best friend, the mom of said 11 year old's best friend. Confused yet?
I find that in ministry, it is so important to have a spiritual director, and a therapist isn't a bad idea. But having a best friend to vent to, to keep you straight, to tell you where you screwed up, and let you know where you didn't? That is a true necessity.
When I screw up, I always think, WWLS? (What would L say?). She doesn't pull any punches with me. She's kind, but direct. I have a lot of people I love in my home congregation and am finding more lovelies in my teaching congregation, but there are boundaries as you move further into the process. (For a great read on this topic, check this out.) It's imperative to have a friend you can trust. Not that we haven't had our moments of frustration with each other; after six years of weekly plus contact, that's bound to happen. But I'm so grateful that our friendship has survived all this time.
In Wellspring this week, we were talking about Parker Palmer's thoughts on living undivided lives. Living your faith, your values, while remaining open to dialogue and being non-judgmental is a hard row to hoe sometimes. How do we live out who we are and what we believe, and have prophetic voices, not just in our ministry role, but in our lives, without being seen as preachy, or goody-two-shoes, or inauthentic?
It's a balancing act. I am so glad that I have a few good friends who I can bounce these things off of and who give me honest feedback - who see my whole self - not just one aspect of me. Student, intern, student minister, mom, friend, wife, adversary, teacher, board member, employee - I am all of these things, but there are few that see the whole person and love me for that, warts and all.
Taking off the different hats that we wear and being our true, whole selves, is important for everyone. Having a friend who will empower you do that, listen to your hopes and fears, successes and challenges? It's like that credit card commercial. Priceless.