June 6, 2011

Forever-Friends

I first began rethinking friendship about this time a year ago. This was brought on when I found my heart being drawn towards several girlfriends whom I never expected to be close to, and this made me stop and think. 

Up until that point I had unconsciously divided my friends into two groups: those I was drawn to, and those drawn to me. In other words- there were the people who I found intriguing- and the people who wanted to be my friends and I could do nothing about.

Yet I found about a year ago that simultaneously I had learned two lessons. On the one hand was a girl I really really liked. Yet whenever we saw each other (despite my efforts) we never had a single conversation. What sort of friend was that? A friend that could write me a letter- but not say hi over the lunch table? On the other hand was a girl- who I genuinely liked- but didn't immediately feel a connection with. Yet she constantly sent me notes of encouragement- prayed for me- and made a point of spending time with me. And I found (last summer) that her persistent love for me won my heart.

Perhaps then it isn't who we love- but who loves us? Isn't there a verse... "We love him because he first loved us, and this is love that he loved us and sent his son." Perhaps love begets love.

This past week I spent twenty-four hours with my dear friend Katherine. I drove nearly two hours to be with her- with my typical inability to read maps getting me lost four or five times. (The irony of it was when the music started singing, "I knew the pathway like the back of my hand...") We took a walk  along the country road under the brilliant blue sky, the spring wind playing with our hair. We stuck our feet in the creek- took a walk, talked, talked, watched movies, and talked some more. Midnight found us still talking- on our backs next to each other- our feet up on the wall.

It'd been a long time since we'd had so much time together. There was a curious nostalgia in the air- remembering when we were new friends- scarcely fourteen- and we went camping together and had spent the day under the very same sun- talking, talking, talking. We had argued. She had stormed off. Those years were hard- we had some enormous differences between us.

"I think we'll always be friends." she said at last the other night.

"Are you kidding? I didn't see you for two years and I prayed for you every single day. I can never forget you."

What is it about some people? How do they do it? People have different ways of expressing love (in quality time, encouragement, service, etc)- but I think it is something in that expression that separates true friends  from mere acquaintances. Perhaps it is the continual expression of love- regardless of disagreement or unpleasant circumstances- that builds trust and knits hearts together.

We fought and we worked it out. We were separated and you didn't forget. I was in sin and you called me out. I was heart-broken and you comforted me. I was discouraged and you pointed me to God. I pushed you away- and you didn't let me go. I was at my worst- and you didn't leave.

True friendship patterns itself after the love of Christ.  There is a giving of oneself- even when the other person is being unlovable. We choose to love. Love is an action. I can't tell you how many people have been just that sort of friend to me. They inspire me to be a better friend myself.

Friends are not the people I've known the longest, or have the most in common with, or have the best conversations with. My friends are those who by their sacrificial love have dug themselves so deep into my heart that I can never, ever, forget them.

And so for each of you who have been a true friend to me, I thank God for you. Bless you a thousand times over.

2 comments:

  1. Love this! Every bit of it is true! =D One of my favorite quotes on friendship is from Walter Winchell, “A friend is one who walks in when others walk out.” Blessings!

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  2. Mmm, like it. Thanks, Natalie!

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