Everyone needs a Friend!
I was cleaning up my cluttered in box today when I came across an old email which I’d deliberately left on my computer, because I knew I would need it one day. A day like today! The picture in the email didn’t need much explanation.
What a beautiful picture of togetherness! Of faithfulness. Of companionship. I wonder if you have a friend like that in your life? A friend who waits for you every day? A friend who walks beside you, either figuratively or liiterally? I hope you do. We all need such friends, don’t we? Much of the richness in my life has come through relationship. Mostly, through the joys of friendship.
And so today, I muse on the heart warming topic of FRIENDSHIP!
As I look back through the museum of my mind, I can picture many remarkable, special people who have walked into my life over the past 54 years –– some who’ve appeared, disappeared and then re-appeared at different times, others who have stayed for the long haul, a good number who have remained in my friendship circle after 30, 40 or even 50 years!
My beloved Mum has been a very special and unique friend over my entire lifetime. A lifetime is huge, isn’t it? And so I raise my glass to her, my most long standing friend and a very precious one. No one could ever take the special place she occupies in my heart. My husband is of course my best friend – we’re shared many years of an intimate friendship since we pledged our love to one another 27 years 10 months and 2 days ago. My sisters were my first confidantes and have been part of my life for as long as I remember, as very special, loving chums and faithful prayer partners. I have other unique friends who are close and who too, are very special.
What is it that makes a great friend? Here are a few of the top qualities I value in friends.
1. One who understands me and accepts me just as I am
2. One who’s empathetic and a good listener
3. One who’s non judgmental
4. One who laughs with me
5. One who’s there for me, always; specially when the chips are down.
Does any of that resonate with you? Perhaps your friendships needs are very different to mine? Or perhaps there are similarities? I don’t know. I do know that all of us need our friends. That without friendship, life would be difficult; and much of its joy would be lost. That I am deeply grateful for the many wonderful friends who have enriched my life in many magnificent ways.
I sometimes ask myself a few questions.
“How can I be a better wife today, Lord”? “How can I be a better Mum”? “A better daughter? A better sister? A better neighbour”?
Today then comes the question. “How can I be a better friend today?"
To one friend, it may be to offer a listening ear. To another practical help. To a third friend, to bless her by sharing my own story. To yet another it might even be giving her the space she needs and leaving her alone for awhile. Because you know, sometimes that too can be true friendship. To one some words of encouragement. To a hurting friend the knowledge that I care. To someone facing tough times, the reminder that I am there for her no matter what she faces, whenever she needs me; and that her wellbeing matters deeply to me.
I’ve just spent two interesting days learning a lot about mental health. I returned from the experience transformed. I now feel a deeper compassion for those who suffer with mental illness. I also feel a fresh sense of empowerment as I try to walk beside hurting people I meet on my journey.
I even understand myself a bit better. I feel glad about how I’ve coped in certain situations that were hard to handle. Most of all, I feel deeply thankful for those special people in my life who safe guarded my mental health when I went through traumatic events or through difficult seasons.
I was horrified to hear that there are 1 million suicides a year the world over. Every suicide is a sad and preventable waste of a human life which in God’s eyes (and mine) is very precious. The thought came to me that some of those who lost their lives may have not done so, if they had just one true friend – one non judgmental friend who listened to them.