Tears drip off my chin, landing on the key board.
This post is for my friend Becky.
Who is moving far away tomorrow.
And she gave me this old man smoking a pipe for my birthday.
Probably my favorite gift because it represents years of friendship.
A record of–
Birthdays and marriages.
Babies and holidays.
And lives intertwined.
But this post is also for anyone who is…
Wanting-hoping-praying for deeper friendships.
Gem-like-friends are rare and I’ve been blessed by them.
And from my friends I’ve learned–
10 (and many more ways) to grow a friendship:
1.) Be a friend.
If you find yourself feeling lonely,
(Because we all know how that feels),
The best thing you can do is be that friend–
Deep and real and solid.
Don’t wait for friendship to pursue.
Be a pursue-er of friendship.
Make a call. Plan a dinner. Talk a walk. Write a note. Invite for coffee.
Be the friend you are looking for.
2.) Pray and look and listen.
Ask God to give you friends.
Pour out your heart and ask Him,
To fill that space and longing.
Look for those already on the path with you.
Look for someone who needs a friend.
Listen for those who love Him like you do.
Listen for where you could give the gift of friendship.
3.) Don’t just think about it.
Call and write and text and email and–
Actually do all those little things you think about doing,
But could easily forget in moments.
Tape the note on a car windshield because God nudged you to do it.
Drop off the Popsicles when children have a stomach bug and you know the night was long.
Send the text that asks how a doctor’s apt went.
Offer to share the car ride when you know the week is hectic.
Email a quick hello when there’s been a bit of quiet.
Stop and pray a prayer when God whispers.
4.) Find a way to regularly connect.
Set up weekly-morning-walks or phone-call-Thursdays during naptime.
Monthly potluck dinners or the cemetery for memorials.
Weekly baskets shared at Costco or treasure trading in the spring.
Yearly camping, birthday coffees, nerf gun wars,
Or Sunday basketball in the church gym .
Bands of brothers and Star-light-parades that weave friendships into–
5.) Love your friends’ children.
Learn her children. Know them. Love them.
Even if it means…
Extra kindergarten graduations or preschool Christmas programs or researching diseases,
Because they are part of her life.
Even if it means…
Buying a purple cowgirl hat for her daughter who will love it.
Or capturing a bug because she has a boy-who-just-loves-bugs.
Welcome hers into yours, muddy pile of shoes by the backdoor and all.
6.) Be in it for the long-haul.
Expect that there will be hurt and disagreement and frustration and misunderstanding.
Because we are all just sinners-saved-by-grace.
And give her the grace you give yourself.
Trust that God can heal wounds inflicted, forging a golden-strength that withstands the fire,
Curing under the pressure.
Friendships are a mess worth making.
7.) Rejoice with. Weep with.
Through the promotions and raises and adoptions and good grades and soccer-victories.
Through the depression and diagnosis and death and disabilities and near-divorces.
Be willing to dig-into-the-messy, not fixing,
But walking through it all together.
“The Bible assumes that
relationships this side of eternity
will be messy and (will) require a lot of work.
Every painful thing
we experience in relationships is
meant to remind us of our need for God.
You can’t take the
gospel seriously and not take
your relationships seriously.
Conflict with others is one of God’s
mysterious, counterintuitive ways of
rescuing us from ourselves.
The problem with relationships is
that they all take place right smack-dab
in the middle of something, and
that something is the story of redemption.”
8.) Enjoy the just-for-fun.
There is often great purpose,
In those times that don’t feel purposeful.
Relationships forged over garage sales and duck eggs hatching.
Over silly movies meant for middle-schoolers.
Over 80’s Proms and white elephant gifts, girl-weekends-at-the-coast,
9.) Love God together.
Through songs, and hymns and spiritual songs…
Through morning prayers while walking circles around the block.
Through little children in long-church-bench-lines.
Through service and sacrifice and sanctuary and rejoicing in shared–
10.) Remember your Ultimate Friend.
Our example, our constant.
The one who lived-out putting others before self (Phil 2:4).
The one who laid down His life for ours (1 John 3:16).
The one who promises to fill the void when there is a hole.
The one who will never leave you, nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
The one who shows us how to be a true friend.
My friend Becky is moving tomorrow…
Leaving a huge hole,
In my life and my heart.
But she and her family have gifted us with years of–
And that kind of friendship crosses state lines and oceans,
And that sort of friendship carries on into the–
Whole of eternity.
Love you Becks.
Already missing you.
…the sweetness of a friend…