The following are guest posts on author Alise Wright’s blog. Each is a story of a healthy, life giving cross-gendered friendship that defies the subversive, (or overt) cultural expectations of “Friends with Benefits” or even, “Friends without benefits but they wish they had them”. These stories are examples of moving past the current over-sexualized cultural narrative, and living into something better.
“I think as a teenager somewhere along the way I was given the message that having a friend like that who was a boy was bad. It could give people the wrong idea, don’t you know. And I’d guess that some of the little old ladies at church did get the wrong impression, but I think that happened because they weren’t willing to look past their assumptions to see what was really there. If they had, they would have seen a brother and sister in Christ taking care of each other in the best ways we knew how at twelve, and then at sixteen, and then at twenty, and now at twenty-eight.”
“These girls even helped me to accept my past as a part of who I am. Four years earlier my father had died, and two years earlier I was hospitalized for major depression. It was a story I didn’t tell people because I didn’t like to share it. But after letting out a tiny bit of that story one night, these girls gathered around me, bought a pizza, and listened as I told my story. It was one I had never told from start to end before. The best part was, at the end of it all, they didn’t accuse me of not being a Christian, they didn’t say depression was a sin, they didn’t say anything corny or cheesy about the death of a loved one. They just loved me.”
“I truly believe that my cross gender friendships throughout my life have helped me to understand grace, mercy, and love on a deeper level. Because I am not afraid of the what-if and what-would-people-think, each of my friends fills their role as David, as Josiah, as Jim, as Sam, as Chase, and James. Rather than being just “men,” they are each, uniquely, my brothers. And that is grace indeed.”