Friday, March 14, 2008

Friends with Benefits

What are the benefits of friendship? For one, proximity, right? We all need people to be there for us, in person. But sometimes, like when you're living in a new place, that might not be possible. So, you have to take what you can get. When I first moved here, I survived on IM conversations with my best friend Jo who was living in France at the time. I thank God that she needed me as much as I needed her. Eventually God provided two women here in Maryland that I could connect with, Adria & Tara. They worked at Camp Sonshine, and they were only here for a few months, but they filled that need for proximity. God created us to be close with people. I spoke with a friend of mine yesterday who is struggling to make friends in a new place. It's exhausting putting yourself out there, being vulnerable, trying to connect. Sometimes, especially when proximity isn't possible, you need to rely on your friends who might not be that near. Isn't that why we're still friends? God places temporary people in your life, like Adria & Tara, but he also gives you permanent connections that transcend proximity. Most of my friends like that, I made in college (save one from high school). So I say to my friend who needs a friend, call me up and we'll have a cup of coffee together like old times; it'll just be over the phone. "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, but the other is gold." Proximity is a benefit of friendship, but not a necessity.

Another benefit of friendship is the ability to speak truth. This is also a right of a friend, but it has to be earned. I have very few friends that have earned this right in my life, and except for two or three, I've know them for 10+ years. It's also not easy to speak truth to your friends. Who wants to offend someone you are close to? But if you don't, then you're not benefitting anyone. I had another conversation yesterday. This conversation broke my heart. I could tell my friend was hurting, and had been for a long time. Not only does she need a friend to love her and pray for her & her husband, but she needs a friend who will speak truth to her, because no one else is doing it. She's believing so many lies that it's hard to tell what the truth is anymore. Satan is trying to destroy my friend and her husband and her marriage, and I can't let that happen. They've been through a lot in the last few years; they're battered, beaten, and scared. And worst of all, Satan has convinced them that it's God's doing; that He is cruel and doesn't care. I tried to speak truth, but this isn't one of those instances where one conversation can turn the ship around. It's going to take time and consistency, and in this case, I believe proximity would be more beneficial. So I asked her to contact someone she knew could walk through this with her. It's difficult, to say the least, when you can't be there for someone. She told me she was so desperate to see God work. I think He just did.

There are so many more benefits to frienship. I'm not sure I could contain them in one blog, or two, or even three. And there are so many different types and levels of friendship as well. For me, there's my husband, my mom and sister, my friends from long ago, and today, friends that live far away and close by. And I need and love everyone of them.

***My sister called when I was half way through this and told me that I had to stop writing such deep stuff, so I promise my next blog will be light and airy!***

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