So recently, I did something stupid scary.
I told a really good guy friend that I liked him. Not just as the really awesome friend and brother in Christ that he is, but that I actually like-liked him.
Now, keep in mind, this is my explanation of how that went down. I’m sure I wasn’t quite this eloquent in the moment. I was reading The Blue Castle (a book about a tragically romantic heroine), and had probably watched one too many versions of Shia Lebeouf’s “Just Do It” monologue, but I decided not to overthink it, something I’m generally not good at. At. All.
“Fear is the original sin. Almost All the evil in the world has its origin in the face that someone is afraid of something… It’s horrible to live with fear and it is of all things degrading.” – The Blue Castle
So as I’m standing there, with my heart pounding in my ears, trying to focus on my breath for the few minutes before I broach the subject. I breathed a quick prayer of courage and just went for it.
I couldn’t find a gracious way to segue into the topic so I told him, there’s something I need to share with you, or something to that effect I can’t really remember as my brain was shooting through all the future potentialities of the next seven words.
“I think I like-like you.”
I shared with him that as our friendship had progressed from my first impression that he was a jerk (yeah, real smooth MariVi) to really valuing our friendship, and that these feelings had developed.
After I said my very short piece. There was silence, and a really great poker face on his side. (I tried my own poker face, but I’m sure it was totally not.)
After a moment or two he began to respond.
That’s when he did the most amazing thing – he didn’t rebuff or squash the fragile piece of heart I was extending to him. He honored it and gently affirmed my courage and beauty in this moment of extreme vulnerability.
His response wasn’t what my romantic sensibilities were wanting to hear, but his honest answer was exactly what my heart needed to hear. (Which I respected the hell out of, and, quite frankly made him all the more attractive to me.)
I shared with him a bit more about how my feelings for him had developed, not in an attempt to sway his answer, but in hopes of encouraging him as well.
I’m not sure how clearly I articulated this in the moment, but it I shared with him that it was his strong character and faith, his desire to seek the will of God first in his life, his tenacity in being willing to bust a few balls to make his dreams a reality, and lastly his openness to the nudges of the Holy Spirit to enter into earnest community with those seeking the Christ. (His culinary chops didn’t hurt him either… chops… I know…)
As we wrapped up our conversation I felt three things: Yes, the rejection stung a little. My ego took a blow, but my heart, aww man, my heart was full.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that telling this guy how I felt, and his not feeling the same way was not the 10 on the pain scale that I was expecting it to be. Yeah, it was intense as hell, but no, it didn’t kill me or my friendship with him.
Instead of him letting me down easy, he lifted me up higher than he knows. (well, maybe now he knows, if he reads this anyways…)