My husband fears I am in danger of becoming a hermit. ‘Tis the writerly life. I seem to spend much of my time these days attached to my laptop with a mere English bulldog for company. Honestly, the introvert part of me is happy as a lark, yet I know I need my friends. Real life friends. Seems I have to be intentional about getting out into that garden of life and surrounding myself with my beautiful, life-giving, heart-warming bloom-buddies.
Whatever our stage of life, whether we are up to our armpits in work deadlines or diapers or dissertations, we all know it’s important to reach up and grab that lifeline of friendship. We need a sanity-break or a reality check. A belly laugh or a shoulder to cry on. Every now and again, I’ll pop up for air and realize how much I miss my friend-time. We are created for community and friends are God-given gifts.
“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” George Eliot
How I love that quote! With true friends, we get to be ourselves, warts and all. We know that with a “breath of kindness” they will forgive our temper tantrum, smile and nod at our rants, take any nuggets of goodness from our ramblings and not hold the rest against us.
There is beauty in the brave brokenness among friends.
We appreciate vulnerability and real-life conversation with friends in a world bent on obsessing over perfection and highlight-reel squares on screens. In a time where connection seems so easy, literally at the tap of a button—we have never been more isolated and in need of relationships. We may have 10,000 Facebook friends we keep updated and entertained, but what about our real-life friends? Are we investing in them?
“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
You see, friends are like flowers:
- UNIQUE—every single one is fearfully and wonderfully created by a God who makes no mistakes. They need tending in unique ways, some more gently than others. Some need extra special attention. And then some are more robust and can handle any challenging condition they are presented with. It’s all good.
- BEAUTIFUL—they will compare themselves to the others in the garden, but they are all beautiful. Assure them. Let them know you see their beauty radiate from the inside out. We all need affirming words.
- GROWING—they are works in process. All in growth mode. Sometimes that means growing pains, confusion, frustration, rejection. Listen and love them, especially when they are hurting. Treat them tenderly.
- BLOOMING—there will be causes for celebration, accomplishments achieved, goals met, they will be radiantly blooming. Be the friend who wholeheartedly feels their joy and be their greatest cheerleader.
- COLOURFUL—imagine a world where the flowers were all the same color. The same shape. Same smell. It would be awfully bland. Embrace the colorful personalities, vast array of abilities, and every variety of flower in the garden. Let them know they are seen and appreciated. Loved and cherished.
“Christians are like the several flowers in a garden that have each of them the dew of heaven, which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other’s roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other.” John Bunyan
Oh, that we would nourish our friends! Not only with coffee and cake or an occasional potluck soiree, but with our actions and our words. Words have the power to build up like nobody’s business—they can empower, encourage, edify. They also have the power to tear down to the ground in a matter of minutes. Seconds, even. Each of us has a responsibility and privilege to speak life and love into the lives of others.
C.S. Lewis explains the sweet connection between Christian friends like this:
“Christ, who said to the disciples, ‘You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,’ can truly say to every group of Christian friends, ‘You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.’”
Isn’t that precious? We need our God-given friends in celebration and devastation and everything in-between. To love one another. To bear one another’s burdens. To do life with. Let’s cherish each and every flower.
P.S. My dear friends in my launch team helped me so much by encouraging and supporting me in the “birthing” of my latest book, The Glass Bottom Boat. I’m so grateful for them! Feel free to check out my new Christian romantic suspense book HERE!
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: