After a long hiatus, due to wordpress technical difficulties, I am back to blogging with the topic of friendship…
Please excuse me if I sound too contemplative, but for the first time in at least 10 years, I had a weekend long silent retreat, with the topic being none other than sacred friendship. For moms who feel their creativity or connection with God has lost it’s freshness or has been drown out with the demands of children, then I highly recommend a silent retreat. Actually, I highly recommend it for anyone living in our busy, technology addicted society, but I will save that for another post…
Last year, I really blew it with a new friendship. My new friend confronted me, in a harsh way, I over-reacted and pulled totally away and ended the friendship. Didn’t speak to her for 6 months. Thankfully, God did not stop speaking to me. He tugged at my heart and would not give up on me. God exposed my own pain and issues that caused me to shut down. He gently softened my bad attitude and gave me the courage to reach out and renew the relationship. I expected my friend to lash back and not give me a second chance, but to my surprise she was nothing but gracious.
This week we were hanging out, in the midst of a busy market and she stopped me, looked deep into my eyes, with tears forming, she whispered, “I am so thankful we got through it.” I knew exactly what she meant because I was thinking the same thing. “Thank you for giving me a second chance.” I fumbled as tears welled up.
What I’ve been thinking is that in general this world’s idea of friendship is pretty pathetic. In our world of low commitment, and “the-next-best-thing”, we’ve seemed to have adopted a disposable friendship mentality. If our friend does something we don’t like, we find a new one, just like we upgrade our phone or hop to a new church that fits our needs. Covenant and commitment are “out” and doing what feels right is “in”.
Maybe this is why Facebook is so popular. If someone annoys us we don’t have to confront them or allow their differing ideas to sharpen our rough edges, we simply can “unfriend” at a push of a button. We can happily allow our “friends” to see our cleverly portrayed self and feel validated by their “likes”. It is pleasant and if someone gets out of hand, we simply delete their comment. We can steer clear of controversy and block those persons who would disagree with us or push our buttons. It is neat, clean and we are in control.
Real world friendship is messy. Jesus defines friendship as laying down your life. This is bloody messy. Literally. Laying down your life for your friends, laying down your pride, your opinions, your wounds, your self-righteousness, your right to hold a grudge, in order to get dirty and commit to love is a beautiful mess.
No, this is not what you commit to with everyone, your 800 some facebook “friends”, but this for a few, your circle that you covenant with and love in spite of all the stuff.
No, I am not there yet. I am on a journey to discover and live out this covenant, unrelenting friendship. But I am tired of settling for less and giving up on people and being “dropped” instead of working it out.
During the retreat they asked us to write a piece on friendship… here it is, not a polished masterpiece but just maybe it will give you some food for thought…or strength to stick it out, fight, work it out and find the real deal…
…is laying down your life, your hurt, your wounds and choosing to trust, open up and see the pain of the other. It is accepting them in their pain even as they accpet you in your brokenness.
…is not a project, not a good deed that inspires others but it is sharing life, sharing tissues when tears fall, coffee when there are no answers- only questions, cake when laughter comes in the joy of celebration.
…sticks even when we push away, when words are said that we don’t mean- we still see the heart.
…is not neatly scheduled meetings, agendas, forced obligation but finding common heart…chosen commitment.
… is not best behavior, perfect manners, polished roles. It is snotty nosed, mascara-running, teary-eyed reality.
…is hugs when you want to hide, calls when you don’t deserve it and forgiving without strings attached.
…is saying no, but still loving, having and respecting boundaries and always believing the best.
…is about mistakes and always giving second chances.
…is celebrating the diversity.
…is never giving up, yet sometimes giving in.
…is safe yet dangerous, risky yet predictable.
…is not judging but taking time to try on the other’s shoes.
…is holding onto Jesus not pain.
…is listening and hearing beyond the mask.
…is giving the benefit of the doubt and making a way for reconciliation.
…is knowing when to keep your mouth shut when advice wants to pop out.
…is embracing another in all their “human-ness” and not expecting them to be God.
…is receiving and giving yet not saying “I told you so.”
…is beauty, it is pain
… is forever.