During my tenth-grade year of high school, my best friend Brooke and I experienced the thrilling highs and devastating lows of dating relationships. Guys, at the time, were equally magical and unnerving, and we learned quickly that we needed a trustworthy gal pal to navigate the tricky waters of understanding guys. Together we made a pact that no matter what, a boy would never come between our friendship. The promise we made we eventually broke, only to reconcile in adulthood. Now we can smile as we recall how ridiculous our teen choices were.
In an attempt to navigate the tides of high school love, Brooke and I had a ritual. On days when we had fights or breakups, we’d load our book bags into her red Volkswagen bug, and she’d drive us to McDonald’s. Having little money in our purses, we’d order the extra-large refillable dollar sweet tea. Filling our sizable Styrofoam cups to the brim, we’d sit, offering one another presence amidst the chaos. We’d talk about how shitty it was for our boyfriend to leave or how smart we were to end it. Brooke and I would make one another laugh about the reasons it ended and how he wasn’t that good looking anyway. Then there were moments that, despite the humor and honesty, tears fell, and we’d make space for sadness over French fries.
Our friendship serves as a marker for the bond of sisterhood, which can elevate and encourage, and how easily passion can destroy this bond. The moments that pulled us close eventually tore us apart when dissenting opinions about a boy came between us. We disagreed about what we saw and the passion arising within the relationship, and I attempted to expose the real agenda of this guy and deter her away from a volatile relationship. Mad love and the blindness to each other’s concern drove a wedge into the sweet-tea time we once held. Teenage hormones won the battle, and our friendship was lost. We called it quits in the throes of tears.
Years have passed, and my look back at high school is dazed and distant. Yet this experience with Brooke feels fairly present to me, for I have recently experienced tremendous loss and betrayal in the realm of passion. Just weeks ago, Chris and I resigned from Restore One, a ministry built on our youthful zeal. Our choice to leave is filled with much grief. Like in this story of broken sisterhood, passion can be utterly invigorating, and it can be destructive when placed into the hands of one who is not ready to hold all of its complexities.
Yet passion is inescapable. Our bodies are propelled by genuine attempts to pursue what perks our interest and ignites our bones with life. This appears to be the paradox of living into a passion: What seems almost uncontrollable drives us and eventually breaks. I’ve found I cannot know the thrilling joys of passion without also knowing loss and betrayal.
Living a life of passion requires risk, knowing that I will likely suffer, yet I choose to follow the wildness of the Holy Spirit regardless.
The very gospel is founded on love, loss, and betrayal. Like Christ, we cannot know the glory of redemption without experiencing death and naming the loss. Therefore, knowledge of Jesus’s death and resurrection is where I am finding comfort. I hope that, in time, my passion will continue to mature, growing in whimsy, desire, and delight.
With years and maturity, Brooke and I were able to make amends. Time and age brought clarity to the madness of teenage passion and the avalanche of emotion that love released, and we have experienced the joy of restoration. And as I reflect, I realize that, despite the hurt and loss experienced back then and now with Restore One, I’d retake the journey. I would take the risk to speak the truth, to love wholeheartedly, and to once again fill my cup to the brim with sweet tea.
Anna Smith is the Founder of Hope Bound Collective in Ft. Collins, offering trauma informed yoga, counseling and retreats. Anna has a resilient passion to see trauma survivors experience healing and wholeness. Mother to Asha and wife to Chris she enjoys biking with her husband Chris, reading, cooking, throwing pottery, running and yoga. Learn more about Hope Bound Collective here.