The Value of Friendships
Imagine a late summer day, my kitchen is steaming from the canning of tomatoes. The phone rings, and the caller id says it is my best friend. She is 430 miles away “delivering” her oldest to college in North Dakota. I knew from hello she had something exciting to tell me. “You know those crockpot liner bags that we’ve been dreaming of? Well, I have finally found them. Woo hoo!” Now let me tell you something about that moment. It takes a real friend to know that you are going to get “jump and down excited” over that news. And I did!
Yet, this friendship like most of my closest friends also has had to endure life’s challenges and hardships. We have weathered the loss of grandparents, parents, and children; job changes, house relocations, illnesses in our children, and everyday hurts and disappointments. There are those people who will drop everything to come running when you need help. And she has on more than one occasion.
Incredibly, I AM SO BLESSED because I can make a list of friends of that have loved me beyond measure. Friends who appear in the line at your son’s memorial service and tell you that you are going to sit down and eat something – not because you want to but because you need to. Friends who call you because God has laid you on their heart and they don’t know why. Friends who offer to take your kids so that you can have some peace and quiet. Friends who remind you that you cannot do everything, and they hold you accountable. Friends who keep your traditions when you are so exhausted that you cannot. Friends who love you even if you are a maniacal sports mom, and they cheer with you. Friends who call and tell you that you have incredible kids because they caught them in the act of doing something wonderful. Friends who know that you will answer the phone in the middle of the night and who will cry with you. Friends that get your sense of humor and laugh with you in a lightning storm on a football field. Friends who share the coveted title of mother on her son’s wedding bulletin. Friends who live far away but use technology to keep in touch and to encourage you. Friends who defend you when others don’t know what you are going through. Friends who are praying for you, even though you didn’t ask. Friends who remember the little things and send a card, e-mail, or letter. Friends who encourage you to be so much more than you think that you are, but yet who God designed you to be. I have all these friends, and yes, I AM TRULY BLESSED!
It was a phone call recently that prompted me to pause and really think about friendships. Her words were like a soothing balm to me. “I just had to call you because you would get it.” The short version is that through a previous conversation, she was thinking about something she wanted to share with me and some other friends, but what she wanted to give us wasn’t readily available. Then in a series of everyday events, the speaker she was thinking about was on her radio. She just had to call to say that God was amazing, and that a little flip of a radio channel was the bolstering that she needed to go forward.
She was right! I did “get it”. I shared a similar story of the friend where God laid me on her heart and her faithfulness to reach out. God blessed her with a radio channel, and for me, it was recently a text message. With God, there are no concidences. The same is true with friendships. With God, there is no friendship too proud to get excited by crockpot liners, too humble to encourage a friend (even if you don’t know the circumstances), too busy to serve in love, too complacent to say thank you, or too blind to love beyond our shortcomings.
God has used spiritual spittle – manifested as the tears of my eyes – through life’s difficulties to wash away the dust cloud of doubt. He has shown me that He has surrounded me with all sorts of friends to be the living, breathing reminder of the friendship that I share with His son, Jesus. Through each of my friends, I have come closer to Jesus because each embodies a part of Him that I so desperately need.
As an “older” Girl Scout, I keep hearing our old meeting song in my head . . . Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold. With all the friendships I have been given by God, I am truly swimming in heavenly gold.