My dear friend Katie (who I’ve been known to affectionately refer to as Katie-lou-hoo) was one of the first five people to hold my baby girl.
When my heart was broken seemingly beyond repair, it was her lap that I laid in and cried. She spent years reciting spelling words with my son every Thursday night in preparation for his spelling test the next day. When, as a single Mom, I couldn’t afford his school supplies for the year, she pooled her resources together with my closest friends and purchased them. She’s one of the few people in my life who I can honestly say loves reading as much, if not, more than I do. She’s also one of the most fiercely loyal; deeply loving people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
After a punch you in the throat and laugh about it sort of week, I was digging through a box looking for an item I never did find when I stumbled upon this letter from Katie, written the year she moved away from our friendship oasis.
Immediately, I was flooded with memories of coming home after hard days and watching “Facing the Giants” together and then literally going out and facing our giants. Of being reminded by one another that “absolutely nothing” was too hard for God, of a friendship where burdens were shared and joys were jointly celebrated. WHAT A GIFT.
But if there was ever an unlikely pair, it’s the two of us. I am fairly certain that if we went to the voting polls together and stood side by side, our ballots would directly cancel one another out. She is Catholic. I am Protestant. (I go to a church where they sometimes raise their hands, how’s that for not Catholic? 🙂 We disagree on a large number of social issues. We have different taste in music. She’s short. I’m tall. She’s a genius. I’m…well, have you ever been around when I was trying to spell something or do Math? I’m a “the more the merrier” girl. She’s a “you invited how many people?” kind of girl.
And here’s where it gets crazy: we’ve never let that stop us from loving one another. We never bought into the lie that said we had to agree with everything someone said in order to see their value. We love God and we love one another. End of story. Watching the way that Katie loves people, sows her life into them sacrificially grows my walk with Christ. Who she is as a woman of God challenges me. I love hearing about what God is doing in her life. I am moved by the tenderness of her heart. I am stretched by the way she loves her students and family.
You might be asking what any of this has to do with you. Everything. The point is this: It is possible to fiercely love people that you disagree with. Could we pretty please stop doing the thing where we only see people as the category that they belong to? Republican? Eww. Can we stop seeing people as being on the other side and start seeing them as the people that Jesus is passionately in love with and died on the cross for? Hear me: It is OKAY to disagree. It is HEALTHY to disagree, but there are loving, respectful ways to do it. We are missing out on so much, when choose to limit ourselves to only those who will agree with everything we say. What if the answer to our prayers comes in different packaging than we might expect? Will we reject it? Will we miss out on it entirely? We are so busy judging one another, picking one another apart, throwing them away- we are completely missing the beauty of who they are. Furthermore, we are missing the opportunity to live in unity, to be the hands and feet of Christ, to have an impact in one another’s lives.
Don’t quit me yet, please. What if we let love be the bridge to the other side? What if we let love be bigger than our disagreements? What if we let God’s love for others flow through us? I bet it would be big enough to cover our disagreements.
Can I challenge you to go out of your comfort zone? To make some new friends that you might even disagree with from time to time? You never know, like me, you might stumble upon something really beautiful.