I grew up during an era where it was relatively safe to walk home a “distance” with your neighborhood friends. Everyone looked out for one another, and the at-home moms would peek out their front windows at the usual time during the day to watch as each child made their way safely home from school.
Being raised by mama (who was not my biological mother), there was always some “explaining” to do with school friends. “Why don’t you live with your real mom?” Sigh.
It didn’t take long for me to grasp the concept of having just a few close friends ~~ these treasured few never asked the embarrassing questions, nor did they ever make me feel less of a person.
They simply accepted me and my unusual lifestyle.
Growing into adulthood, I upheld the concept of the few close friends ~~ again, these treasured gems have always been there in sisterhood, good and bad times, and continue to share themselves in love.
When my children were growing up, I watched intently as they learned how to be a friend and select their friends.
I was front row center to many woes, having a firstborn daughter (I know you know what this means, Girlfriend). Seeing how mean some children can be, and the anguish that would result from immature behavior and a lack of proper guidance, I’ve mopped up many tears. History can repeat itself if we allow it.
Nonetheless, we forge ahead and we take our children with us ~~ and we encourage them and love them THROUGH the difficulties of developing friendships. That’s how they learn; that’s how we’ve learned.
But what happens when we encounter those adults that “missed that chapter” in the Book of Life’s Lessons?
Job 42:10 When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before!
This verse references the same three friends of Job as are mentioned in the Scripture verse at the beginning of this article. Yes, the very same friends that were so close to Job, they felt pity and compassion when Job had hit a hard time in his life. The verse says when they heard of Job’s tragedy, they left their homes and traveled (this sounds like it was a great distance) to console him. They made effort to comfort their beloved friend.
I’ve lived long enough to be able to say that not all the world is concerned with my daily trials, much less my bigger issues. And all the world need not be moved by my moaning and groaning over such. Everyone has their own load to carry ~~ I get it.
But Girlfriend, let’s be real here ~~ we need those few friends to help us SEE the reality of what’s going on in the amidst of our trials. We need those few friends to help us get moving when we’d rather just sit and sulk in our misery. We need those few friends to help us adjust our lens so that we can lay hold of the tasks at hand and be useful for The Lord. While even though we endure difficulties, we still have Purpose to fulfill.
There isn’t a woman on the planet that can make it through life without at least a few good friends.
Sad to say, there are some who never learned the art of friendship. I’ve encountered some who, through the pain of their own mothers, were actually taught to NOT make friends outside of their own siblings. This, in itself, is a tragedy ~~ this says: “I lack the ability to trust you (or anybody else) with myself.”
I recently met up with a Friend at a baby shower. She inquired as to how things were going (she’s known of my “issues”). I openly told her that I’ve come to the realization that there’s comfort in the circle of friends that allow me to be transparent and real ~~ it’s a freedom that cannot be compared to mere acquaintance. She smiled and nodded.
Yes, transparency is difficult ~~ because it requires becoming vulnerable and trusting. But over time and with much “practice,” it becomes a way of life ~~ second nature. I’ve discovered that genuine friendships are built upon these foundations.
Honesty is practiced THROUGH humility. Authenticity is borne out of sincerity.
It’s impossible to require this of others if you’re unwilling to be this way for them. So the choice is clearly ours for the taking. Yet for many, this is viewed as a “risk.” So the question is: “Are you willing to take the risk?”
As a result of past hurts, some are reluctant to extend themselves in friendship ~~ I get it, Sister, pain is not easily forgotten. Maybe you were burnt so badly that the scars have yet to scab and heal ~~ sometimes years of reckless living cause people to lash out in hurtful ways unknown to them, and you are left sitting amidst the debris and the aftermath of “what happened?” doesn’t seem to clear away.
But don’t let those few bad experiences take ownership of the rest of your life, Girlfriend. Friends can still be made as long as you are willing. Our Savior lived the greatest example of friendship during His ministry on earth. He went out of His way. Selfless. No strings attached. Genuine.
Maybe you’re thinking that the rejection you experienced ~~ the judgements placed over you ~~ the misunderstandings ~~ have all sealed your fate and friendship with anyone is impossible. Or is it that you’ve wronged someone and need to reconcile or forgive them ~~ maybe you need to forgive yourself.
It is in these moments that we need just a few close friends ~~ to help us get back up and move forward. Sometimes it is us who needs to reach out and offer to be a close friend.
Mama used to tell me, “You don’t need the whole world to be your friend. But you DO need a few close friends.” Oh, how I have found this to be so true!
That Girlfriend who is willing to be there ~~ to lend an ear or a shoulder ~~ to offer a different perspective or sound advice. A cup of conversation or a slice of compassion. Take heed: two imperfect Friends will result in an imperfect Friendship. However, the desire to be a friend will outweigh and overlook the shortcomings of either person.
1 Peter 4:8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
It’s never too late to be a friend to someone you may have intentionally ignored or scorned in the past. It may be the opportunity to reconcile a broken relationship. The only “sacrificial act” on your part would be to release the pride that is holding you back from reaching out.
Are you willing to be someone’s close friend?
No strings attached ~~ no ulterior motives. To be utterly transparent and honest. Offering up yourself as a place of sanctuary and refuge in times of need.
There’s a Sister out there that needs you ~~ just look over your shoulder ~~ she’s coming up behind you.
I pray that you will be Blessed this day with such persons in your life ~~ and that you’ll give back to others by being the same in return.
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~