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Saturday, August 24, 2013

An Outpouring of Friendship

Today I experienced an outpouring of friendship. It was from an extravagant number of sources, which makes me wonder... God, why now? Why right now so many back to back, superfluous, extravagant, lavish, gifts of human kindness and friendship all in one day?

If we've ever talked at length, then you probably know that this whole idea of a "friend" is a big deal to me. It's because, of course, of the language of John 15:15, when Jesus is informing his disciples that they are so much closer, so much more intimately connected with him than they ever could have imagined. They aren't just servants of their God any longer, living for him. They are friends, brought into his presence, his counsel, his fellowship, companionship. They are living with him. Doing life together. That's how Jesus sees friendship. In this together.

There are lots of different ways in which the idea of being in this life together can be expressed. Not everyone can do all of those things. Maybe there are one or two really unique individuals in your life who hit the friendship thing on all cylinders, but I think that's rare. Most will strive to excel in two or three aspects of the full range of possibilities. A few might do more, a few less. All will do some, though.

Here are just a few of the examples I can think of, and all these are based just on interactions with people who have appeared on the scene for me and my most close beloved in the last two days or so, with much of it occurring today:

A friend is one who shows up, even if it's not the most convenient time, even if an out-of-town guest comes along (Charlie and Mary Ann).

A friend makes an effort to meet a need you can't do for yourself (Cathy), and seeks other help when that friend can't make it happen either. Another friend responds at that point (Terry)--maybe even responding FAR above any expectation to provide for the need.

A friend doesn't let formality legislate away the relationship, and even goes the extra mile (or 5K) to make sure that relationship still moves forward, despite formalized obstacles (Henry, Josey). His heart is too invested to let others take it away.

A friend takes time to grasp what you're thinking, even if the content seems hard to swallow, and then affirms the positive while gently helping you consider the side you might not have understood beforehand (Robin).

A friend thinks you're so interesting, he or she shares you with others (Melanie).

A friend seeks you out to give you the information you're dying to hear (Brendan).

A friend tells you it's OK to be a little bit on the crazy side, and loves you through it anyway (Dave).

A friend includes you and yours in his or her life events even when it would be easy and justifiable to let it slip away (Lerenda).

A friend takes the time and keystrokes to share a kind thought, rather than just let it pass away into nothingness (Whitney).

A friend is grateful, and says so (Lyn).

A friend asks you your name again, because he or she finds you significant enough to not be readily forgotten (Cindy, Martin).

A friend remembers the wonderful day she spent with your child, and memorializes it with a precious gift (Tracy).

A friend prays for you when you're hurting, and gives humble, kind words to balm the shattered soul (Miriam, Mary, Mary, Melissa, Matt, Sharon, Robin, Stephanie, Cathy, Jill, Reenie, Dave).

A friend offers presence (Donna).

A friend thinks of you when he or she finds something delightful to share (Sarah).

A friend finds you in the crowd when it could have been so easy just to keep going with the flow (Amanda).

A friend laughs at your silly jokes and welcomes your attempts to be playfully engaged with him or her (Ginger).

Surely, my cup runs over! This is what the kingdom will be like. So much love, poured out freely without hindrance.

2 comments:

Melanie Thompson said...

You are such a jewel, Rebecca. Even though we haven't spent a ton of time together, I consider you to be one of the special lights in my life. I'm so glad that we are friends. I look forward to more words of inspiration from you and for the opportunity to get to know you and your family better. hugs and blessings, Melanie

--Rebecca said...

Thank you, Melanie. I feel the same way about you!