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Radical Friendship: Practicing Freedom in Unfree Places

“Given the devastating events of the last couple of days, I’m checking in on you…  How is your heart?  Is there anything I can do to support or love up on you?”

This text from a friend saved my spirit today, just as I sat down to work on this blog post. 

The tragedies are nonstop.  When I learn about them I’m almost always alone.  A news banner pops up on my laptop.  Posts expressing grief and rage populate my social media feeds.  I freeze, holding my breath.  

On a bad day I spin out, keeping the feelings at bay with more scrolling and searchbar detective work.  

On a good day, I back away from the apps.  I phone a friend or, if I’m lucky, a friend has already called or texted me first. 

It can be awkward to reach out in times like these – without answers, without magic words to make it better, without knowing what you’ll say next.  If you’ve been practicing mindfulness, you know not to let the avoidance of discomfort run your life and keep you small.  You know how to slow down and make time for what really matters, to reach for the relationships that lead to true happiness and freedom, even when the world seems hell bent on transactional business as usual.  

The world is extremely heavy, today and every day. If you’re grieving, raging, scared or numb, know this: your heart is working as it should.  It is too much.  We’re not meant to hold it all alone.

Small gestures of radical friendship – a call, a text – are mindfulness practices too.  They remind us that love is still here, that our humanity is still alive, and that these things are worth protecting and fighting for.