What is it about friendship that is so hard? Laverne had Shirley, Abbott had Costello, Heckle had Jeckel, so surely it can’t be that hard to find a buddy! This is a universal situation, which most of us (if we’re honest) would agree is what brings anguish from the get go!
My sweet little grand daughter (or my ‘little sister,’ because she now calls me her big sister… poor kid wants a sister, so tag, I’m it!) seems to have a posse of girls at preschool, all of which yell her name the minute she arrives every day. Yet, if you ask her about her friends, the ones that hold her hand and hug her hello, she will say “I don’t really have many friends” (sad pouty face included). So, is it her inability to realize she is loved? Or, is she wise enough already to discern it’s all mostly fake?
I pray it’s not the later, because those cruel lessons must be learned over time. It’s way too painful to find out who one’s friends really are at such a young age. But learn she will. If I could protect her from it, I would; people are mean sometimes. She greets her potential friends with a huge smile and a hug, with all the anticipation and joy of the possibility of a real friend. I cringe because I feel the same way many times. I, too, meet people with hopes of life long friendships, only to be let down or even rejected. Am I good enough or cool enough or fun enough? Must I stand on a chair and announce to the world I am pitiful, so please love me? NO! Never!
I know I am worth it. I know I am a good friend. I know I have plenty of potential to be the friend who sticks. I know because I have a few friends like that. I have been mentored by women who are amazing women of God, that choose to be friends with God first, and let the rest fall as it may. That kind of wisdom and character is rare. I know I have value. Yet, there are moments that are hurtful, when you put your heart out there only to be ignored. Welcome to GIRLHOOD 101, a rite of passage for us all. I am keenly aware of the pitfalls my dear “little sister” will have to go through. We encourage her to be a leader, to be a friend first, and it will work out for her. The little girl in me wants to cry and keep her home and love her and not let her get hurt… But I can’t. Just like I couldn’t with her Mom. She got hurt, but she has learned good lessons she can pass on to her little mini.
I pray the Lord always gives me new people to meet and become friends with just like my little Ellie. The Bible tells us to have friends we must show ourselves friendly, which I believe, leaves the sticking part is up to us. Even Jesus started out His ministry on earth with large crowds that eventually dwindled down to twelve. Of those 12, most had moments of being less than true friends to Jesus. Some ran from him when Jesus needed them most; some slept when He needed their support in prayer. One left for good. Should I expect better? There is a Judas around every corner, those that will deny us, traitors and doubters. The handful that stick are ones to be cherished. My best friends are the closest to me – my preacherman, my daughter, my three sons. Our love and loyalty has been tried and tested, and my heart is safe with them. Each one of them speak into my life differently, but all with the same purpose. I feel like I have been blessed with women friends from every season of my life, each has been an important part of my journey. Those true friends have been forged in the fires of time spent and shared together. Good times, bad times, happy, sad, those are the times where real friendship is revealed.
My daughter and her daughter will be best friends and that will keep them knitted together. I won’t have it any other way. It will take some tears and boundaries pushed, but as I have experienced, it’s all worth it. If I could teach them anything it would be to have a giving heart, that it can’t be all about them, and to value themselves. We have great worth with much to offer and learn. It’s never too late to be a good friend.