From The Friendship Factor – How to Get Closer to the People You Care For by Alan Loy McGinnis:
What did St. Paul mean in his great hymn to love when he wrote, “love does not keep a record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13:5 TEV)? I think he meant that to love we must be able to believe that people’s characters do alter, that the leopard can change its spots, that conversions do occur, that people do repent, and that at times they do change. To put it another way, he was urging that when we are in relationships of long standing we must live in the present, forgetting some of the slights we’ve endured in the past. For sooner or later, in any friendship, someone will be wronged. In a weak moment, the beloved will severely criticize or embarrass, or temporarily walk away. If we allow ourselves to dwell on those misdeeds, the relationship is doomed. Keeping close books on how many wrongs have been done us makes us accusatory. It is curious what a short memory we have for our own mistakes, and what a long one we have for the mistakes of others.
Two years ago, on a rare sunny and warm summer day in Brussels, my best friend (who had flown across two oceans to be with me in my valley) and I sat on my back deck and marveled at how weird life can be. She was there because my husband had moved out after asking for a divorce. This was after painful months of learning of his infidelities and trying to save our marriage. I wasn’t eating or sleeping and was trapped in Belgium as I waited for the military to move me back to the US. She brought blue skies and laughter with her, and sitting out in the sunshine was balm to my body, soul, and mind. And even more strange, we were using her iPad to watch her husband appear in episodes of a French reality show.
Life is funny, y’all.
We could have never dreamed up that scenario. As we reflected on it, we wondered where we’d be the next summer.
Well, the next summer found me with a full life in Georgia, and meeting up with her in Portland, Oregon, as I joined up with CAbi.
And this summer, we caught up again, meeting in Denver for CAbi, and then in Georgia where she was seeing her son graduate from boot camp at Ft. Benning. We marveled that our annual check-in this time found us praying that her son could successfully toss a grenade and celebrating my upcoming marriage!
I can’t begin to guess what will be going on by next summer!
*sometimes it’s haha funny and sometimes it’s strange funny. and sometimes it’s a combination of the two.
From C.S. Lewis, as quoted in Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage:
Friendship arises…when two or more..discover that they have in common some insight or interest….[A]s Emerson said, Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth?–or at least, Do you care about the same truth? The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance can be our Friend….That is why those pathetic people who simply “want friends” can never make any. The very condition of having friends is that we should want something else besides friends. Where the truthful answer to the question “Do you see the same truth?” would be “I don’t care about the truth–I only want [you to be my] friend,” no friendship can arise. Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travelers.
unpacking after another fun CAbi show tonight
“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
Friendship has been on my mind lately because I’m ever so grateful that recently I was able to see my best friend. A continent and an ocean separate us, but thanks to our business, we get to meet up twice a year. She is truly a gift from God. Truly, truly, truly. She’s the answer to years of praying for a good, godly friend. Though we are different in so many ways, we are kindred spirits. Our lives are nothing alike right now, but even so, there are often almost eerie parallels. When I’m with her, I laugh until my face hurts. (Why, oh, why does she say the wittiest things right after I take a sip of something?! I’m going to choke one of these days!) She’s got a quick-to-the-point wisdom and a way of bottom-lining things that I appreciate. So often, I’ve turned to her for a sanity check. She knows me better than just about anyone, and she loves me anyway!
In 2012 I was living in Brussels when my life blew up. I was all alone, unable to sleep or eat. My friend knew that I needed support, so she dropped everything and flew across two oceans and a continent to be with me. Friends of ours and friends of hers picked up the slack so that she could make the trip. And her presence brought Hawaii’s sunshine to the gloomy gray of Belgium. We cried together and laughed together (it was SO good to laugh!), and her being there for me is something I will never, ever forget.
She’s a treasure, this dear friend of mine.
God didn’t stop with that treasure, either. He’s brought wonderful friends into my life as I’ve started a new chapter here in Georgia. With a supportive family and supportive friends, I feel doubly blessed.
All along this path of a divorce I didn’t want and facing just about every variety of change possible, I’ve often said that God loves me through His people. And I believe that more deeply every day.