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.
What kind of friend isn’t available?
Synonyms for friends include:
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.
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?
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.