A Lamp For My Feet

Amy Zacaroli

Friends Like Gold

I half invited it, the blow, the rebuke. I wasn’t hurt because she said it. I was hurt because I have no one to blame but myself.

My friend and I were talking about women who have decided to drop us, thrown out like yesterday’s newspaper. It’s just something we don’t understand. Once a friend, always a friend, right? What possible slight could I have done or my friend have done to make these ladies “break up” with us? And what kind of friendship is here today and gone tomorrow?  Around here, friends are acquired and dismissed like the newest Vera Bradley design.

Then I reassured my friend that she and I are always good. She will be my friend until I die. Although weeks may go by without my reaching out to her, it doesn’t mean she is any less my friend. And the she said it. Gently, but still she said it. “You are the type of friend I can call on when there’s an emergency. You are loyal. But you’re not available on a day-to-day basis.” I silently suck in a deep breath. Buffering the blow.

Not available.

What kind of friend isn’t available?

Synonyms for friends include:

contact – um, you have to be available to make contact;Amy and Aphele

associate – you have to be social to be a friend;

comrade – isn’t that someone who is next to you in battle?

workmate – the one next to you all the time.

Antonyms for friend – stranger. Yes, that is someone you don’t know because… they are not there with you. Not available.

Ouch.

Friends by definition have to be available. Synonyms for available include:

accessible – you need to be able to reach your friends. Okay, she can reach out to me when she needs me. I pass this one.

Open – Oh don’t get me started on this one. We can go to lunch with our friends or walk dogs with our friends, but are we really open with our lives? Can I tell my “friends” on our daily dog walk, “I just had the worst fight ever with my husband.” Or “My 13-year-old is lost and I have no idea what to do.” Mostly, we walk our dogs and talk about what’s for dinner, swim practice for the kids, the problems we’ve heard the “friend” down the street is having with her unruly teenager and how we would handle it so much differently.

Free – Am I free for my friends? Am I available? Or am I so busy with my own little life – even if life includes serving others and carrying out my faith in other ways – am I too busy to be a real friend?

Ouch.

Psalm 141:5 talks about “rebuke.”  “Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;

let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.” So I accept this correction from my friend as a blessing. And a blessing it is. It’s a wakeup call to be a friend, to be available, to be in contact and to be open — before I lose all my friends.

We all know the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Well, if my friends treated me like I’m treating them (not calling, not being in contact), I’d be getting a bit lonely. And I already am, truthfully. But Jesus commanded us to love each other as He has loved us. How did Jesus love his disciples? By teaching them, guiding them, showing them miracles, walking in their shoes, forgiving them, eating with them, washing their feet, and dying on the cross. Do I love my friends as He has loved me?

That’s a tall order. But can you imagine life in your family, on your street, in your school or workplace, if we all loved each other as He loved us? What kind of world could we create if we did this?

Join me in the challenge. Choose one friend or family member and try loving them as Jesus loved us. Do it for a day or a week or a month. Or choose one way to love as Jesus did and do that to as many friends and family members as you can. (Promise me you won’t die on the cross, though!) Then write back and share your experiences! I dare you to go beyond the Golden Rule and to change the world around you.

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2 thoughts on “Friends Like Gold

  1. deb williams on said:

    i think we, as women, spread ourselves too thin… mistaking people in close proximity for friends. not that we should treat them poorly, but i think we need to be more judicious as to who we choose to invest our time and love in. anyone who would drop someone is not a friend, and that’s okay. it doesn’t make them an enemy, either. a very wise person told me that we are the sum of the people we choose to be around. i had a life-altering experience recently, and i was surprised by the people who reached out to quietly and humbly help. some aren’t in the area and couldn’t be physically available, but they offered support the best way they could. i guess my point is, don’t beat yourself up too much on the availability part. i think if your heart is always open to your friends, they feel it and they can count on it. all of this being said… count me in on your challenge!

  2. Jennifer on said:

    I think a friend should be a support. Someone you can count on/and they on you when you need them. Someone you can trust. Someone that won’t drop you or exclude you no matter how much time you spend with them. I don’t think the amount of time you spend should determine the type of friendship. A friend is a friend. Someone who can accept you just as you are at this moment. Are you less of a friend because you have a full life? If you have a job? What if you had to care for a sick relative for a few months…would your friend still be around? I doubt spending more time with your friend will make her feel like you are a better friend or even more available. You may want to ask yourself if you want to carve time away from the priorities/obligations in your life for someone who can’t like you/accept you just the way you are right now? Will you be good enough with an extra hour each week? Will this be enough?

    Count me in on the challenge! I love that you wrote this.

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