I’m turning today’s Sunday Inspiration over to my husband, who has the following to say–and is clearly used to saying important things on Sundays after 40 years in ministry:
Friendship is a theme of many, if not all, of Emilie’s books. The Goddess series, which is the latest, is about a group of women who learn what real friendship means. So I’ve been thinking a lot about how to be a friend, as clearly she has, too.
My life is blessed with good friends who can sing the song in my heart back to me when I have forgotten the words. We recently went on a cruise with three other couples, and we had such a wonderful time talking and eating and playing that now we’re planning our next one. I have friends I play tennis with and others I dine with and others I enjoy sitting with to chat about subjects small and large.
To be a friend is not just fun and games; it takes work and intentionality. I believe we need to be able to do three things well.
First of all, and most important, we have to listen, not only to the words of the other person but to what he or she is saying between the words. All of us know people who are eager to tell us all about their lives rather than take the time to listen to what we have to say. But a true friend ask questions that gently penetrate our hearts. A friend will listen, quietly, patiently. What greater gift can we be given than to have someone who loves us so much he or she will listen to our greatest joys and deepest sorrows?
Second, a friend will speak from the heart with no pretenses, no fears, no games. She or he will speak the truth with love, not wanting to hurt us but also knowing that we need to hear what is sometimes hard to hear. She will take in our pain and let it be hers. And he will use words and hugs to heal us.
Lastly, a friend will bring joy into our lives by being who she/he is with no apologies. She will laugh at our jokes, even though they may not be that funny. And he will celebrate our successes with gusto and pride.
I am so grateful for friends. How about you?