Carol Burnett is one of my heroes. I watched her on television growing up and she always made me laugh. I think it’s what made me want to do the same thing. It always seemed like pain was fleeting but laughter seemed to last.
Not too long ago I was watching an episode on Pioneers of Television that highlighted Ms. Burnett. She told a story about being on the Gary Moore show early in her career. On one episode, the sketch Carol was in required her to jump through a fake window. When the time came she gave her all (after all it was “LIVE” TV) and hurled herself through the window. To her surprise they had placed a mattress on the other side. When she landed safely she spontaneously blurted out off camera, “Thank you!” The audience thought it was part of the bit and roared.
We all need a safe place to land.
But sometimes it’s hard to know where that is. There are people who place the mattress outside the window and there are people who close the window when you’re not looking. Lately I’ve experienced both.
I count myself blessed that I have friends who let me land. They don’t try to judge the landing, criticize the fall or even tell me how to do it “right” the next time.
They listen and they love… regardless. Recently I had a late night exchange with one of my “safe places.” It went something like this:
Me: You up?
Her: Yeah. What’s going on?
Me: I think I’m going crazy.
Her: You’re not crazy.
Me: Let me tell you what’s going on and then you’ll see. Yada Yada Yada
Her: You need to get out of your head.
Me: I feel better now that it’s out of my head.
Her: I love you. Good night.
Let’s just say if we are comparing friends to mattresses, she’s a “SLEEP number”. She’s firm when she needs to be and soft when I need her to be.
Sometimes my “safe place” friends are actually behind me- encouraging me to jump. I don’t know why sometimes it’s easier to see the potential in someone else- it just is. Speaking belief into someone else is one of the most important things you can do.
And then there are the friends who jump with you- you’re just flying through the air together; squealing with delight and wondering where you’ll land together.
After all, what is life if we can’t jump? Where is the adventure? How can we truly test our limits? How will we know if we are living the full life God intended for us through Christ?
These friends inspire me to be that for others: to speak the truth in love, to speak belief into their challenges as well as their dreams- to grab their hand and jump with them, high-fiving them in the victories, consoling in the defeats. I’m not perfect by any stretch, but I have wonderful women who are showing me how it’s done!
Thank you sweet, safe-place friends- and now a little verse to close:
Bid me jump- and my heart will leap
And after the fall- sleep, sweet sleep.
Up bright and early to do it again
This is the joy of safe-place friends.