Theological Thursdays – The Art of Friendship

Artificial romance is in the air. Tomorrow, of course, is Valentine’s Day.

I’ve spoken my thoughts about Hallmark’s arm-twisting of our men while they raise our fragile expectations higher than the Sears Tower (and no, it will never ever be the Willis Tower. Thank you very much).

I like a little bit of romance like any other woman, but I’m realizing more and more that it is my friendship with this man that adds the necessary grease to the clunky cogs of marriage and family life. Ironically, it’s my own expectations that toss the monkey wrenches into a smooth running machine.

Friendship. It’s not just for marriage. It’s easy to be completely consumed with life as a family and think friendships with other women are not necessary. But we need each other so much! The older I get the more I realize this.

Friendship comes when you least expect it. There were once two girls watching their packs of siblings. Those fifteen year olds are now forty-two. We’ve changed and shed the people we once were several times over – yet we are still friends – believing the best about the other even though we’ve never lived in the same state.

Friendship grows as the result of intention and determination. Text messages. Phone calls that last for a minute or an hour. When I feel that familiar prompt in my heart “I wonder how she’s doing?” I don’t waste that moment. I’ve learned it is often exactly when they most need to know someone cares.

Friendship has seasons. Not every friendship is in the fun of summer – sometimes fall is settling in for winter’s restoration. It’s okay. Be intentional. You’re in it for the long haul.

Friendship bridges age and generation gaps. I’ve found these friendships to be the most satisfying.

Women who have gone on before me – who smile and remember and offer encouragement. They pray over my children and hold up my arms when they get heavy.

Women coming up behind me with similar struggles, it’s humbling to say you have no idea how to help other than smile ruefully and laugh as comrades in arms and tell her that this is all you know: God never left me and always always held me in the hard moments and somehow in His grace, I’m here sitting across from you telling you how faithful He is.

Friendships are sometimes like fireworks. They start with a teeny spark of understanding and then go blazing. Dazzling those around until through the natural course of events, they fizzle out – though not for lack of trying.

Friendships are like perfume: a little dab’ll do ya. It’s easy to think having a whole bunch of friends is THE thing to have. Like Toyota’s brief run with rear windshield wipers: if one is great, two is better!! Not necessarily.

Sometimes you only need a few friends. My mom always told me that if I had a couple really close friends in my lifetime, I’d be blessed beyond words. She’s right.

Friendships are like those cut ends of romaine. Right when you think they should be tossed away or composted, they sprout right where you could’ve sworn it was impossible.

Friendships can be gut-wrenching and painful too. You can’t go through life without accumulating a few bumps and bruises. There are mean girls when we’re young and unfortunately, sometimes, they grow up to be mean moms or coworkers. But overall, even through this, we value our close friends even more.

Friendships are good and we are better for having them.

So today – this Galentine’s Day & Valentine’s Day, don’t forget about your friendships.

Whether with your man or your girlfriends, do a little something to remind them you remember how things started – and how thankful you are for them.

After all, this man is still the one who would rather see your hair in braids down your back with a flannel shirt rather than an updo with a cocktail dress at a party.

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Photo by Dương Hữu on Unsplash

 

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