Facebook. The bane of relationships.
Pretty pictures tell a story, but only a part, a very small part. Smiles reveal happiness, but not the work that got the smilers there. Statuses regaling loving acts are a great way to say thank you, but not so good at giving an accurate perspective.
Relationships are way more than pretty Facebook pics.
For real relationships, real, honest, deep, abiding relationships, are made in secret, in hard words and patience and perseverance.
Real relationships require courage to reach out in tearful phone calls and compassion answering, "I'm coming over." They push aside insecurities and celebrate with others and refuse to let the awkwardness linger.
Real relationships persevere through disagreements and believe the best. They dig through the hurt to hear the heart. They realize hugs are sometimes the only answer and freely give them, especially when no one knows what else to say.
Real relationships muddle through painful conversations and gut honesty and are willing to get thin skin scuffed for the sake of growth and depth. They hold tight until the dam breaks and cry along, with or without understanding.
Real relationships love and trust enough to show the junk, the ugly, the imperfect and struggling. They hear what isn't said and share the helplessness, the worry, the fear. They cheer others on, even while fighting their own battles.
Real relationships are full of "I'm sorry"s and "I love you"s and deep breaths and bold moves and consistent presence. They are messy and uncomfortable, but willing to hang in there for the beauty on the other side.
Real relationships say, "You are important enough to work through this with." They require opening up, being available, honest and brave.
Real relationships are more than pretty Facebook pics.
So the next time you're tempted to "Aahhh" at a picture, concentrate instead on the work that may have produced those smiles, on the secrets behind joyous faces. Nothing good is ever gained by giving nothing.
What are you willing to give for real relationships?