WHAT IS A TRUE FRIEND? I have friends. Good friends. Important friends. I've also had some friends who desert the friendship or lose interest, or time and events remove us from contact or even outgrow the friendship. I don't like it when that happens. I miss them and feel like I left some of me behind. I am a loyal sort, and I'm not big on having lots of friends. Just not my nature. I have a few wonderful trusted friends who have gone the distance, never abandoning the friendship nor losing interest in it or me. They love and care for me. I love and care for them. I know they will be my friends for life. My three siblings and my parents belong in this category. The best friendships have acceptance as a mainstay in the relationship. It is a core necessity. We differ, see things differently, but we are secure in the friendship. In every decade of my life God has given me someone in this way. There are surface friendships, lasting friendships, church family friendships, long-distance friendships, and soul-mate friendships. All have their place and are important. We need each other. God made us to desire relationship. Friendships also help us grow.
I received this card decades ago from a true friend. It has been in a photo album of memories next to pictures of us together when we were young single women. We have been friends since 1973 when we were placed with four other girls in a dorm room suite.
God must have been in the planning of that because we have remained friends throughout the years. There are times when we may go for a couple of years with no contact. The love and caring remain. At times the weight of circumstances have kept me silent. I didn't have much to say. For her, too, life would be challenging, and she would find herself in the midst of the crush. She would be silent. Each time this happened, both of us regret elapsed time between our renewed contact. Neither of us is a phone person which is part of the issue. We send books, cards, little gifts, letters, and an occasional email.
My friend encourages me. She helps me. She even helps me grow as a person. The books she has sent me are not of the light variety. Neither are the tapes from conferences and CD of her husband's last talk in church before cancer took him from her straight into the arms of God. I find her no-nonsense approach refreshing. There is little pretending or putting on a false-front with her. My last visit with this friend was in June of this year. We hadn't visited in three years. She and I sat at the breakfast table and talked about the Lord, books (I was writing down author names and book titles), and people and struggles in our lives. I saw into her heart and saw that it has become wiser and sweeter. She picked up a jewel that has changed her in her attitudes, which she shared with me. She practices extending grace to people who annoy or disappoint her. She has found that this lets the other person off the hook, removes her inner frustrations with them and her critical spirit, and turns their times together into meaningful moments. Another piece of wisdom she shared with me is that you can tell what your idols are by what you speak about the most. How true. An idol can be anything that takes precedence over God and the maintaining of close relationship with Him. I loved our talk. The conversation made me self-evaluate and want to be more than I am. She encourages me through her words to be stronger in my personal walk.
Many people have this sort of friendship with their mate. I hear people refer to their spouse as their best friend. They are both soulmates and best friends. What a delight that must be. To be on the same page, to know full acceptance from the person whom you are with as one, as a spiritual union. Beautiful. Maybe some day I will know what it is to live in harmony and united in close friendship in such a way with a loving spouse who accepts me for me and likes me anyway and I do the same for him. God would have to be in it for this to even be a possibility.
Please let your friends know you appreciate them. They already know it, but it is always good to hear it.