1. [adj] frank; sincere: We had a heart-to-heart talk about his poor attendance.
2. [n] Informal; a frank talk, especially between two persons.
I looked up this phrase and was so disappointed with the definition. Frustrated, even, that the human race has degraded something as beautiful as heart-to-heart connection to something frank, and informal. How pathetically inaccurate that we have reduced a connection of the heart (which is the wellspring of life, the center of all we are and have created to be, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and the central reservoir of all things glorious) to talk about something like attendance.
Can I tell you what a true heart-to-heart is?
It's one of those conversations that you feel an ache deep inside at the thought that it will soon end.
It's when you've opened up not just your mouth to state that which is obvious, as we do in every interaction; but you have opened up your heart to show that which is unseen, and often ignored, but is in fact vital to the experience of joy, of friendship, of love and truth and trust and life to the full.
It's one of those interactions that somehow leave you full to overflowing and yet hungry for more; more time with them, more of whatever that was that we shared because it was so beautiful and just felt so right.
I've had the privilege and the honor and the abundant blessing to have four or five such interactions in recent weeks. All completely different people, in different situations and places and subjects and settings but each of them left me aching for more and yet utterly filled up; they left me hugely thankful but also wondering... what was that? and how do I get more of that?
That, my friends, was a heart-to-heart. A true mingling of love and life and truth and trust and vulnerability and that is actually what we are made for.
Vulnerability leads to intimacy. And we are created for intimacy. This is not a scary word, this is for everyone. We’ve degraded the word intimacy like we’ve degraded the words heart-to-heart to mean something entirely less than what it truly means. Intimacy doesn’t just mean “what married couples do behind closed doors”, (quoted from a teenager friend), it is:
Intimacy: [n] [in-tuh-muh-see] A close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.
Sigh. Do you feel the longing in you? For that? I think if we are truly honest, that’s what we all long for. It’s what we were created for, in reflection of the perfect relationship within the trinity – Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Perfect intimacy.
But you have to be willing to be real. You have to be willing to get emotionally and metaphorically naked and hope they don’t laugh at you or run away screaming. And that, my friends, can be terrifying.
The risk of being known is also the decision to be criticized by some... but if we live behind a mask we can impress but we can’t connect.*
Those conversations I talked about earlier, the ones that left me longing for more yet full to the brim… that feeling? That feeling of being known and yet still loved and delighted in and encouraged and utterly not alone? That’s worth the risk. Those people aren’t impressed by me. Goodness knows I’ve tried to impress plenty of people in my day and yes, it does give a temporary high. But those people know that beyond the face and the voice and the words that impress there is plenty of pain and gunk and ugly words and thoughts and actions and stories. And they still want to be with me. And they say things like thank you for helping me to know that I am not alone.
Yes the risk is there… that belief or reality that if anyone really knew what was inside of us they would leave us. But as someone quite wise pointed out to me just yesterday when I was discussing this very real possibility in one of my friendships, she said if someone chooses to abandon you because you are pursuing truth and honestly and life to the full… say thank you, and let them go. Those aren’t the true friends you really want. The true friends you really want to be doing this with? They will love you through it.
Sometimes the story we're telling the world isn't half as endearing as the one that lives in us.*
I’m a good storyteller. People tell me often that I’m a good communicator or a good writer. I know it’s true (in my strong moments… not so much in my insecure moments… but by His grace those are getting few and far between…and thanks for telling me, really). I know it’s a gift from God and I’m absolutely desperate to use it for His glory and His glory alone. I used to tell a lot of made-up stories just to impress people. And that felt good for a minute but then after a while it left me feeling awful.
Now I tell real stories to connect with people. And that’s a whole lot better.
*quotes from Scary Close by Donald Miller. One of those books I was sad to finish.