Friendship is the superglue that has held me together during my most difficult times. Despite my many flaws and the humdinger ways I mess up life, my friends have never left me. As I have sailed the stormy seas of heartache, friends have joined with me in the boat of sorrows and sailed the choppy, unpredictable seas with me. They have been my safe mooring time and time again. During dark times, their love was like a light flickering in the distance reminding me of hope, life and better times ahead.
The Bible contains many examples of friendship; however, the friendships between Naomi and Ruth and David and Jonathan are my favourite examples. Naomi, after losing her husband and two sons called herself "Mara" which means "bitter" in Hebrew. Her heart was broken in countless pieces. At that time, Ruth, her daughter-in-law and friend, stood with her during her inconsolable pain and grief and said to her, "where you go, I will go." Because of Ruth's tenderness, commitment and capacity to love, Naomi's bitterness dissolved like snow. Friends who promise to go where you go, are those who are willing to walk the steep mountains of heartache alongside you and will never leave you to walk the hard places alone. Being a true friend is self-sacrificial and is a life-long commitment. It is being willing to be in the shadow of another so the other person can be elevated and lifted up. It is sorrowing in their sorrows and rejoicing in their triumphs. Friends won't let you loose your way.
1 Samuel 18:1 says that "the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David." How beautiful to think that our souls are intimately connected with our closest friends. Happy and blessed is the person who knows their heart is knit to that of another. Jonathan means "God has given" or "given by God." During the furnace of adversity, Jonathan stood by David's side and never left him. They loved each other so much that they would die for the other. How incredible to have friends that would lay their life down for you! I'm blessed to have those types of friends and to be that type of friend to others.
Anne Lamott says this about friendship: "The parts fit together...it's the wildest experience...cold winds arrive and prick you...the rain falls down your neck...darkness comes [but you have your friend by your side]." Friendship is choosing eaching other, getting found, being "fished out of the rubble. It blows you away how this wonderful event ever happened-me in your life, you in mine." Time cultivates deep relationships and communicates love. In this frenzied life, we must carve out time for deep intimate relationships. To live without rich relationships, is to starve ourselves of meaning and purpose, to deprive ourselves of being fully and intimately known.
Ann Voskamp writes a blog called "Holy Experience" and in one of her friendship entries she shares that "friends will sing your song-God's song for you-when you have long forgotten the words. Friends will sing your beauty when you see yourself ugly, sing your hope when you only feel hurt...friends will sing who you are until you find your way...until you remember the notes of your song."
Thank you to my friends who have shaped who I am and sang my song until I found my way.