RISK: THE GAME OF PERSONAL EMANCIPATION
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. ‘Pooh!’ he whispered. ‘Yes, Piglet?’ ‘Nothing,’ said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. ‘I just wanted to be sure of you.’” — A.A. Milne
He sat across from me at our bar. As usual, he was late, and I antsy. But we still spoke openly of marriage, friends, sex, God, money, work and each other. We imbibed our usual spirits, downed marvelous burgers. And then it came.
I couldn’t help but wonder if this relationship could continue outside the bar. Certainly we could discuss intimate matters, and most would declare this a deep friendship. But we lack something.
To function outside the “pub” in which most of our interaction takes place involves risk. The proposition is perilous because we might not function well or smoothly in another context. What if it feels awkward? What if we lose the bar magic?
Life here’s too short to fear the answers.
A similar situation occurred with another friend I met playing football. A few years older and seemingly a world apart, our conversations consistently circled cover two, the SEC, and the Italians’ superiority over the French.
As we have each grown, we’ve woven boldness into our friendship’s discussion. We ask, “How can I know you more?” There comes the occasional brick wall of silence or uncertainty, but we continue forward, asking new questions, sharing different experiences in unique contexts. We eat together. We bring our families into our friendship. We play together, travel together and introduce each other to friends.
We had to walk off the field to know each other fully, as men, as people, as friends. Stepping off the figurative context of the field, we stepped into the literal experience of each other’s worlds. We entered life together. But it meant we couldn’t stay where we had been. It was awkward at times. It proved painful and slow. But it grew.
John Ortberg penned a book called, “If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.” I haven’t read it, but I like the title. If we want to move ahead in knowing someone, we need to risk failure. Sure, Peter began to sink, but Jesus caught him and asked, “Where is your faith?” He didn’t ask, “Why’d you get out of the boat? Are you nuts?”
We should move our friendships into new contexts, and do so for friendship and the friend. We need to deal with the uncomfortable to create new levels of comfort. We must tell the terrible truth. Ask the question, “How do we know each other?” We must risk failing, so that we don’t risk missing the full person altogether.
You can’t stay here.
Think of one friend. What are you afraid to ask him or her?
What are you afraid he or she will ask?
What do you risk by speaking the truth or hearing it?
© 2006 Revolworks.com