Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Conversation With A Friend

A recent conversation with a close friend provided some powerful lessons to me… I wanted to share a little of what I learned.

Amy and I were surprised when a dear friend of ours, though a self-described atheist, asked if she could speak with us about our beliefs / religion. My initial reaction was to be both excited and nervous--excited to talk openly about something we care so much about, and nervous about discussing something so sensitive as religion with someone we care so much about. We responded that we recognized the sensitivity of this topic, but were happy to share our personal experiences if it would be helpful.

A few days later our friend came to our home. She explained that she had had some recent experiences that had made her truly curious for the first time in her life about faith/religion. She further explained that she had seen many desirable things in her interaction with our Church's members, but had a few questions about our beliefs. She then said, "So… My main questions are about your beliefs in divorce, tithing, women's roles in the Church, and homosexuality."…MAN! I had never been asked such an explicit question by such a sincere person. Though I won't attempt to share here the specifics of our conversation (I've found it difficult/impossible to accurately recapture a conversation in writing), I will share that, for the next couple hours, we had one of those truly rare experiences of open, honest, high-fidelity, additive-free communication in which nothing is held back on either side...including convictions, beliefs, fears, aspirations, hopes, and tears.

I want to thank this friend publicly for one of the most memorable conversations of my life. Since that conversation, I've thought daily about what made it possible for us to have such a unique experience--our friends' example of being honest with self and with others, about living in a state of "remodeling" and willingness to seek out truth wherever we find it, about being open to reconsidering long-held assumptions, and about not fearing to seek answers to the BIGGEST questions of our hearts. Her example has led me to "re-test" many of my own beliefs and to seek to deepen and broaden my understanding of truths I learned years ago.

Because I continue to believe in "truth"--my definition has not yet changed since THIS blog entry--and believe that we can seek out and find truth, I believe that all honest seekers will, eventually, whether in this life or the next, come to the same understanding. Along the way, until/towards that day, I pray that I will be more like my friend (and that more of my friends will be more like her as well), and that conversations of this type become less rare… Ask me anything :-)

All my thanks,

Seth

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