September 15, 2013

Friends (It's an essay)

For a long time, one of the things I asked God for was friends.
Real friend. Friends you can text with stupid things and they understand exactly what you are saying. Friends you can organise coffee with (even though they know you don't actually drink coffee, but who says 'lets go have a diet coke'?). Friends that stay friends even when circumstances change and distance gets in the way and you have to make the effort to hang onto that friendship.

At the beginning of the year I realised that God had answered my prayers. I suddenly realised I had friends. Real friends. Walk-beside you always friends.

Honestly, it came as a bit of a shock. I kept waiting for one of them to stop wanting to know about my life, to say no when I suggested catching up. (Oh, how pessimistic I am!). Instead I was surrounded by amazing, beautiful, God fearing women.

And my heart was thankful.

It took a while, but I realised that there are two types of friends. There is the friends of circumstance; the ones you see everyday at work, or who you serve alongside at church, you grow up next to at school. These are lovely, amazing friendships. But then you leave school, move work places, or they move out of state, or into another life stage. And the friendship fades, until it's a happy memory but those people don't know you really. They just travelled alongside you for a bit.
And maybe your lives will intersect again, and it will be fun and lovely again. But you can't be bitter about those friendships fading (believe me, I've tried) - because to have a friendship you both need to want it and it has to be built on something more than being in the same place at the same time.

Then there are the other friends; the ones God chose to have you walk alongside. You start off as friends of circumstance, but somehow along the way it becomes something more. And when life takes one of you on a new journey your friendship stays strong.

I have to admit it caught me by surprise. That friends who got married still wanted to hang out. That their husbands wanted me in their combined life. That babies just gave us another excuse to spend time together. That changing churches prompted a fortnightly catch up instead of a loss of contact. That I can call someone the same night every week and know they will be waiting, ready to talk and to pray. That we can text back and forth until we find the one time in our crazy week to go for a walk together. That when they plan to move borders I'm working out when I can fly there and they are saying then they are flying back.

I've never been good at voicing my feelings. I have a tendency to hang back and let others declare theirs first. I'm always sure that if I bare my soul, it's too dark and troubled to be loved.
But these women, some who are older, some who are younger, stayed even when I knew they had every excuse to turn away. And I in turn, have seen their souls and it only makes me love them more.

How can I say God never listens? How can I say he is silent in the midst of desires? Because I see these beautiful answers to prayer daily.

Oil and incense bring joy to the heart,
and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel.
Proverbs 27:9 (HCSB)

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