Tuesday, April 25, 2006

ME, "Hello?"
Angie, "Are you coming?"
Me, "HUH?!"
Angie, "To the book club, I thought you and the girls were coming to the book club."
Me, "We are, it is on my calendar tomorrow."
Angie, "It's today. We just finished lunch. You haven't missed anything, come on!"
Me, "I am on my way!!"

Then we all got out the door in less that 2 minutes with much less than perfect hair as we had been chillin' for the afternoon!! You can throw on a dress way quicker than pants and a shirt!! We did miss lunch, but got in all the book discussion so that was a good thing. All children had great fun and are excited about next month.

One of the girls in our group has a friend moving away and I was trying to give her sage advice. It has really got me to thinking. Friendship is so important to each and every one of us and yet we seem to never really have it on the level we want it. Perhaps our spouses come the closest, when we are not mad at them! It is something I have struggled with my whole life.

"God is a jealous God and if we try to peplace him, he will take our friends away. He wants to be IT!" I told her this and she rolled up her window. No one younger than twenty wants to ever hear words like this, but I believe it with all my heart. I have prayed for best friends and God so softly reminds me that with them, I lose the need for him. I believe when we get it right with him, he blesses us with tons of wonderful friendships, but we must put him first.

All of that got me to thinking about how much I have changed through the years and how my friendships have changed as well. I am, by nature, a friendly person. I like people, all people, and want them to like me back. I am also, by nature, a very blunt, aggressive person so I alienate scores of people who would never like to know me better. It has been a very fun combination to live with.

My behaviors have been constantly tweaked and pruned through the years. I am a much better friend now than I ever have been because the pendulum has finally landed somewhere in the middle again. In my teen years, I was so much a people pleaser that I let alot of people steamroll me-I would let them copy off of me even though I thought it was wrong(mostly because I did some cheating of my own occassionally even though I thought it was wrong-but NEVER on tests! Just on homework because I worked even in high school and sometimes could not get all my work done!!)(Can't we justify anything if we try!!)I was not very true to myself because being liked was very important to me. My best friend was totally abusive of our relationship, but I loved her parents so I tolerated ALOT!

In my early twenties I was such a softy. I may have had a sign on my forehead that said, just ask me, I will do it even though it is completely impossible for me to help you. I was working more than full time carrying 15 hours of school and living on my own. We are talking-barely scrapin by!!-people would ask me to borrow money and I would loan it. I ran a little taxi service for people who needed rides home. I confused being a christian(though I wasn't exactly all about that in those days-it was still deeply ingrained) with being a pushover. News travels quick when you have that personality among the vultures of the world. I would volunteer to work late and close to keep from having to tell someone no. I hated telling someone no. I hated to see someone in need of something and would use a credit card to buy stuff for their kids or whatever. I was in such poor shape financially, but I always wanted to help someone "less privileged". Looking back, there was no one less privileged!! I have been on so many dates I never wanted to be on because I just could not tell them no. I figured I could ignore them on the date and they would get the hint and not ask again...it worked by the way!!

After I got married, I immediately became the best wife I could possibly be. I wanted him to be so glad he married me. He would never have to lift a finger. I worshipped him. However this did not last very long. He was not worshipping back. He was kind of his own person, not completely and totally smitten with me and only me. That was not the plan. If I were the wife of his dreams, he would be the husband of mine and we would live in wedded bliss forevah!!

It was a totally rude awakening and I was done...ready for a divorce. Really, no kidding. I had discussed my plans with a good friend and lo and behold found out I was pregnant. What a cruel joke. My husband was so excited I wanted to strangle him just to watch him die. It started the pendulum swinging the other way. I became the "What have you done for me lately friend?" I decided since I did not have a husband who was all about me, I would have friends that were all about me. I was so demanding and obnoxious. Very few people stuck it out and I hang my head in shame when I see some of those people. Two really good ones helped me grow up and stuck by me through the selfish years.

A few years after my second child I started to realize that marriage and friendships are give and take. Not even all within the same relationship. As "even" as I want everything to be all the time, I fully realize at the ripe old age of 34 that I have friends that I can offer nothing to. They don't need me for anything and they just bless my socks off all the time-just cause they want to. I also realize I have other friends who are "needy", all the time. They are my friends just the same and I love to help when I can-just cause I can. Not to make them like me. Not to make them have to "pay me back" but because God put us all here to ease life for one another. Friendship is truly a gift from God and true friendships(people who stick by you even when you are wrong and obnoxious)don't come along every day. True friendships are the ones that have been tested-withstood through misunderstandings. God has blessed me with very few true blue friendships-I count them on one hand. They know the worst of me so well they can't see it anymore. They lift me up when I can't even ask God to lift me up. I call them for spiritual woes and love them deeply even if we can't seem to get together. They are firmly planted in my soul and sometimes I feel it just wash over me that I should pray and pray deeply for them and I do!! I hope you have friends that are like that for you. We live in a superficial world-but Godly friendships transcend that.

I told one of those people the other day that I really did not have many friends and she laughed. When you are outgoing and friendly, alot of people become friends. Some of those people become your close friends-but almost always those are seasonal friends. When you paths no longer cross-it is sort of over. When your season of life changes, the friendship does too. My true friends sharpen me-they make me a better person and I hope I do the same for them. They can criticize me in a way that hurts, but when we are done-I am better because they told me. I sincerely hope each and every one of you who stumble across these ramblings of mine have a friend that can tell you "how it is". God sends people to help us correct our defects in character and if your really blessed, it will be a friend.


jessica said...

The person you describe here sounds very much like myself. I am one of the outgoing friendly people that collect friends wherever I go...but I only have a few close friends. I need to say thanks to those close friends for putting up with me, even on my worst days.

summer said...

i've never had many close friends, just "gathered up" friends. i just don't have it in me the energy or time it takes to invest in anyone else other that bret and the kids. sounds sad, but it is true. i have had some wonderful friends and God has blessed me with some really great friends since i've moved here. people who don't need more of me than i can give. ist's really nice. i'm glad you have special people to be deep friends!

Juliabohemian said...

It's funny; as a younger person such an idea would have mortified me. Now, I am more content to be less dependant on the company of other "people".

SuperMom said...

I was thinking about this same subject the other day. I haven't had the same friends my entire life.

Kind of sad. I hate to think of my current friends not being my friends forever.

Susie said...

You're deep today! : ) Not a bad thing.

You may be onto something about God being a jealous God and doing things that may make us more dependent on Him. That's an interesting thought.

I don't have really any close friends outside of my family. I have had really close friends in my lifetime, but either they or I have moved too far of a distance to maintain that friendship at the level it was before the move. I have confidence that if we were brought back together, we would just pick up where we left off, but probably until God brings us all together in Heaven, we will have to be separated.