I’ve been learning first-hand about friendship.
Well, duh, you may think. Everyone has friends. Everyone learns about friendship first-hand, Laurin. True. I agree. But I’ve been learning some core truths about friendship that I had never really thought about before.
Is a friendship always unhealthy when it involves pain? If you don’t agree with the way a friend is handling a particular struggle, should you step out of the friendship, stand still, or push forward with the friend? What is friendship if it’s not rooted in love, if it’s not unconditional?
I am beginning to understand that friendship will not be mirror images in everyone’s lives; friendships will differ as circumstances differ, so, yes, sometimes we will experience friendships that are unhealthy, and we will need to step away. Sometimes we will experience friendships that are healthy. And sometimes we will experience friendships that are everything in-between. Because community is messy and raw, isn’t it?
But I think that this core truth remains: the sensation of emotional pain, like the feeling of being burdened by another’s struggle, is not always grounds for stepping away. (Sometimes pain comes with goodness. Often the struggle creates beauty.) Almost always it is an opportunity to be a friend in a great way – by bearing that person’s burden with him/her. After all, what is a friend if he/she is only a wonderful friend during the seasons of carefree living? Isn’t a friend a real friend when he/she continues to offer strong, unshakable friendship in the midst of the hard seasons too? May we resist the urge to theologize away our friend’s struggle the way Job’s friends did; instead, may we love with stubborn grace. As we do so, we will refute the frequent truth that though God is always, always faithful, his followers are not. May we love not only because God is love and because God first loved us but because we genuinely love human beings and care for them deeply.
January 30 Joy Dare: 3 Old Things Seen New
1. Snow – sometimes it’s feisty! I walked outside this morning and was immediately delighted by the light snow flurries I saw; then, after a few minutes, I got pelted in the face with a flake.
2. Sometimes we can’t fix things. Sometimes situations are just “weird.” And that’s okay.
3. My current Old Testament Theology class text – I loved it at first but am not such a fan now. And that’s okay too. Workin’ out my thoughts and the author’s thoughts in light of the Bible.