Monday, December 2, 2013

Real-Life Friendship

Sometimes as women, we find ourselves trying to define the kind of friendships with have.

“We are really close.”  
“She is a great encouragement to me.”  
“One of my best friends…”

photo credit: San Diego Shooter via photopin cc

Have you ever found yourself having to defend that relationship to someone? It can be a challenge. Trying to put measurement and value on the aspects of your relationship that are good, can feel futile.
“I know she has her problems, but she is a good friend.”  
“I know you guys don’t get along, but we’ve never had much conflict.”
“I know…”

Not sure that we really know what we are talking about in these conversations.  We would LIKE to know.  We tend to be more comfortable when we can define things.  
It makes it easier to apply value,
to defend worth,
and to justify time spent.  

But I’ve learned that doing that can diminish the actual treasure of a relationship.

God has called us to community.  He recognizes the blessing and advantage that our lives glean from a comfortable talk, a good laugh, and a real-life “I get it.”  We are helped by a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, and a warm hug.  
No one is perfect.  
No one is flawless.  
These things are offered by the least of these, to the least of these… and it is a gift from God.

The conflicts we survive: they strengthen our relationships.  
The pain we endure: can inspire others to persevere.  
The tears we cry: make us vulnerable to others so we can let them in… to see we are all human.  

I hate when a friend is hurting.  
I hate that we cannot escape the drama of real life, the baggage we carry with us, or the weakness of the human condition.  

But I’m learning that the people God has placed in our lives - very few of them are people we seek out.  Very few of them are friendships we chose.  
Those relationships choose us.  

And unless I have a clearly abusive relationship, I don’t have to EXPLAIN these friendships or acquaintances to anyone.  They are real.  They are the accumulation of friendly greetings at church or common interests found in small talk.  They are the collection of eyes meeting, of school aged children, of waiting for practice to end.  They are the sum of familiar stories, funny jokes, and common humor.  And they are ready and waiting when they need to be a comfortable place to land, a knowing groan, or a sympathetic ear.  

I’m going to stop trying to define and breakdown the relationships I have with people.  The usefulness of this is limited and confined to my narrow, faulty concept of the universe.  

Instead I’m going to recognize the immeasurable wealth that comes from my friendships.  
Lifetime or recent.  
Work related or family.  
Mature or uncultivated.
They serve a purpose.  My life is enriched.  
For this I praise God.

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