My feelings got hurt in a conversation with a good friend this week.

I could feel my face getting hot as she commented on something she’d seen in me that had rubbed her the wrong way.

On the drive home I kept replaying the conversation, thinking of snarky things to say in response, ways to defend myself. My mind revisited previous interactions we’d had that could have led her to arrive at the point of saying what she’d said to me.

My pride wanted to shove off the comment as completely untrue, but I knew she was right.

Her observation about me was frustrating because I knew it was true. She’d seen a hard edge on me and decided to be loving enough to point it out. (Sometimes I hate the fact that I need grace from other people.) But the further away I’ve gotten from that initial conversation, the more it’s softened my heart. Which has been a surprising but much-welcomed shift from my initial immediate pushback to her remark?

I’ll say this first- do I want to have anyone hurt my feelings? Hell no. But as I’ve thought more about her willingness to share her real thoughts about me with me it’s grown my gratitude. It has reminded me to value community and authentic relationship.

Am I living closely enough in a community that people have true access to me? I don’t ever want to be too cool, too removed, too distant from an actual relationship that no one has true access to me. Am I living closely enough with people in my life that occasionally they’re stepping too close, arms reaching over mine, casually offering up their two cents on decisions made?

I’d rather live like that. Because what hurts more than a misunderstanding with a friend is living at a distance from people. From not living drenched in community. From not experiencing the rich joy that is deeply knowing faces around a table, the ins and outs, the habits that require grace.