Friday, June 24, 2011
Free For All Friday: Friendship
Proverbs 17:17a "A friend loves at all times..."
They say it takes a friend to be a friend. But once you have them, what do you do? I've also heard the saying that you can count your true friends on one hand. Interesting thought when you stop to ponder it. I promise I'll throw something food related in here to live up to my musing foodie name :) but I wanted to chat about this topic a bit as it's relevant to all of us.
We all have different groups of friends - perhaps a small group or Sunday school class through church, high school or college girlfriends, co-workers, moms you call friends through commonalities - the gym, school or your neighborhood, childhood friends you've known all your life, best friends, A-listers, B-listers...you get the picture.
I want to focus on your core group of friends - the ones you call when you need to vent, cry, yell and have them understand your perspective. The ones you immediately turn to for prayer, council or advice. The ones that you know will not think less of you when you make a mistake, will tell you if there is something in your nose or teeth and can get away with advising you to retire the hideous outfit.
Friendships take work and I've found I get from a friendship what I put into it. If I don't communicate, fail to reach out, don't pray for them, seek out opportunities to show I care or spend time with them, then they don't seem to be at arms reach.
I have made a committment to the friends I hold dear (even though I haven't verbalized it to them) that if I want them in my life, I will put forth effort to keep them there, because they mean something to me and I need them. We're all busy - but that few seconds to send a quick email goes a long way. See something cute as you're perusing a catalogue or internet site? I have a girlfriend who thinks of me everytime she sees something cute and culinary and she will send it my way.
What about the phone? Often neglected in our texting or emailing prone society, a real live phone conversation where you can here emotion behind the words makes you feel like they're sitting right there with you. I love a good phone chat and love quick check ins, questions, thoughts or long conversations. Phone talking time is not a relic of pre-smart phone days gone by.
And for the Emily Post lovers out there, you understand completely the power of a hand written note. I am a firm believer in thank you notes (almost to a crazed fault) and send them whenever the opportunity arises, but I'm also in the habit of purchasing a handful of cards from a bookstore that will fit the bill when a girlfriend needs a boost. Sometimes a friend needs to see those words in print so they can re-read them and save them in their Bible or on a bedside table.
The gift of time is precious and face to face time spent with a friend is like water to my basil plant - it thrives and grows! Sometimes grabbing a friend to just run an errand together helps life seem less hectic. And what about helping them in their laundry list of projects? Packing for a move, picking out a bra (ughhhh!). I've hated that since the 4th grade when Dustin Schlenbaker saw me buying my very first one. I tell you, I'm scarred for life.
And gifts - one of my favorites. Showing a friend you care through a thoughtful gesture of a casserole, cookies/brownies, cupcakes, candy, notepads/trinkets that remind you of them, watching their kids, bringing them a smoothie - there are zillions of ways to say 'hey - love you!' I love to give away baked goods (there's my foodie plug!). It's a great way to show you care.
To have a friend, you definitely have to be one and it does take effort on your part. The rewards reaped from this effort make your cup runneth over. In the past year, I've grown closer to some friends, made some wonderful new ones and nurtured some I've had for years and years. My life is full and rich thanks to the wonderful friends God has placed in my life.
I encourage you to work at your friendships as well - someone out there needs you!
Luke 6:31 "And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them."
(Photos courtesy of Caroline Ghetes Photography)