Sep 13, 2013

Being A Friend.

“In friendship ... we think we have chosen our peers. [But] in reality a few years' 
difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice 
of one university [over] another ... the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a 
first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there 
are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. 
Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can 
truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have 
chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating … 
good taste in finding one another out. [But] it is the instrument by which God reveals to 
each of us the beauties of others.”

C.S Lewis

I have been thinking a lot lately about friends. Some people may argue with good old C.S about the idea that everyone is in our lives for a reason. I for one adore the idea that all the people I have come in contact with throughout all my 44 years have all been there for a reason. Especially as I get older and can clearly see the purpose of each person. It is staggering to think about how big the world is and how many chances you have to brush up against someone elses life. I sat down the other day to make a list of the friends in my life that I can not imagine my life without. The ones who have shaped me and impacted me.

 I thought about the friends who said something to me at just the right moment and I have never forgotten what they said and I now pass on their words of wisdom to others who seem to need the same advice. This happened when I was living in Princeton with way too many little kids and I was wondering if the frustration I occasionally felt was normal and two moms of older kids who I really looked up to and imagined to have oh so perfect lives were talking to me and began confessing to me about times they felt evil thoughts about their children and let me tell you it was so reassuring. I am so grateful that these women were not intent on keeping up a facade of a perfect life and were okay with being real and honest in front of a very young, overwhelmed, and impressionable mom.

I thought of "friends" who have been unkind to me and taught me something through their unkindness.....even though it was very icky :) Is it weird to be grateful for mean people? I could not have learned some hard things without them that is for sure. They are not true friends because I somehow knew when they offered criticism that they did not have my best interest at heart. Funny how there is that difference that we can all innately tell between someone who truly loves us and cares about us offering advice or observations and someone who does not. 

I thought of friends who loved me enough to tell me something hard. There are not many of these in my life but I know who they are and I LOVE that our connection is so perfect that they can say anything and not offend me or hurt me because they have shown me through their actions that they truly do unconditionally love me. I wish all my relationships were this way but then I would not have anything to agonize over and Oprah would most likely want to talk to me :)

I thought of friends whose hearts were generous enough to allow them to freely find the words to recognize something I did. It is a great skill to not have a jealous bone in your body and to be able to recognize other people's strengths and to tell them you see them and to rejoice in them. 

I thought of friends that to this day even though we are miles apart and have not seen each other in years we can pick up right where we left off. I have maybe five of these kinds of friends and I love that comfortable, safe, peaceful feeling I feel when I get together with them. I love it when I realize how long I have known these particular friends. And I love when out of the blue they reach out to me from thousands of miles away after oh so many years somehow knowing I needed to hear from them.

I often wonder what kind of friend I am. Just for your information my relationships are fiercely important to me. I am always working to keep up my friendships. If something happens to our friendship I can never ever just let it go I will pester you longing to figure out why it broke, longing to understand. I used to think I needed everyone to be my friend but you will be oh so glad to know that as of about two years ago that is most definitely not the case anymore. I am truly content with a handful of people that understand me and like me. And if you know me at all you know that you thought you would never hear me saying that.

 I wonder if I listen well? I wonder if my friends know how much they mean to me? I wonder if my children know how to be good friends?

As I have joined the Facebook family I can not help but notice my friends from high school on my news feed. I love how so many of them have kept in touch with each other. They take care of each other, visit each other, encourage each other, and post pictures of themselves together. I was not so attentive to my friends in high school and I am not sure why so I do not really have that sort of relationship with any of them. I loved high school but I think they all were hanging out and I somehow missed the memo :) But I love seeing them chat with each other and keep up those friendships after all these years I do not know why it makes me happy.

So as Sharon Eubank said at a BYU women's Conference a year ago, here is to the people in our circle....most of them are a divine gift. There may be a few that are thrown in there for spice but I believe most of them are in proximity to us on purpose. We can't dismiss the people in our circles :) 


jills said...

I sure hope I'm in there somewhere!

Jill Sorenson

Ackerman/Mejias Family said...

Here's to you, my friend! (I'm toasting you with a smoothie:)