“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
My attitude towards my friendships is just this: once I am "in", I am all in.
You would have to leave me, because I ain't leavin' you. I am happy to be stuck with you.
Were you to deny the infallibility of Scripture or the diety of Christ, we'd have issues - simply because I am not a closet Christian. We would end up "having it out". Even then, I would work hard to salvage the relationship, to whatever degree I could.
Now, if you run off and leave me...well, I'll leave the porch light on for you. You prefer your friends to be witty and good looking, so I figure you'll be back. And I will miss you, too, because I have a weakness for witty, good looking, interesting people myself. I sort of collect them as friends. But I won't chase you and attempt to tie you down, because that wouldn't work. If you are the one who cut the ties, you have be the one to bring your half of the rope back to where you cut it - that's just scientific fact, and its also good for your soul.
I have a strong belief in autonomy and interdependence, when it comes to friendship. I know, that seems awkward and impossible, but it actually makes for the most healthy relationship. I am a "boundaries" kind of girl. I won't seek to be anyone's "bestie"(gah), nor would I ever try to take the place of what should be a significant relationship in your life. Jurisdiction, jurisdiction, jurisdiction. God loves boundary lines - He created them.
You have a momma. You have a blood-sister. Bond with them, however you can! Under any sort of normal circumstances, they are infinitely important, and should be given honor - no matter how flawed the person and how tedious the relationship may be. I refuse to allow you to put me in what should rightfully (and Biblically) be their place. I don't like for my affirmation to come that way.
Let me be "just" your friend - that means the most. Then, if I have earned the right (versus being merely sentimental,and cheaply sentimental, at that!) you can call me a mentor, someone who is "like" a mother to you, or your sister in Christ.
Lots of people call me those things - interestingly, the ones I permit to call me "mentor" and "mom" usually have, or strongly pursue, healthy relationships with their parents and/or spouse. Maybe that's because I won't have it any other way. If those relationships are fractured, I see it as my job as a true mentor or an actual spiritual mother to stand in the gap and build up that breach, doing all I can to bring healing.
I get the whole "family of God" thing. I live it, breathe it, and love it. I "get" that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. I am a "mother in Zion".
And I understand the Holy Spirit's use of metaphor. Very important.
See, the whole reason that metaphor works, and the way that metaphor works best, is when we understand and cherish and pursue healthy relationships with our blood family, our blood kin....as well as our blood-bought family in our local church.
The less you need me, the healthier our friendship will be. Because that means your most important relationships - Christ, your spouse, and your family - are your first line of defense. Then, when you do need me, I know I can make a difference by doing something doable. Something small.
There, I said it.
Where have we gotten the idea that all our gestures and all our doings towards one another must be grand or heroic? I don't need to have to feel as if I must give my body to be burned - because the ante and definition of "true friendship" has been upped past what is reasonable. Because you don't turn first to me...because you turn first to Christ to get your needs met, I am under no pressure to perform. All is grace.
Besides, it is the small and the ordinary that defines our lives. Big acts of love have no context without being able to deeply value the small graces. Every gesture - every prayer - every thought a girlfriend offers for me is a gift unearned and undeserved.
Oh - and let's not forget your husband. He is designed from the garden of Eden to be a primary relationship in your life. Your "bestie", if you can bring yourself to use that word. Let him be your...best friend.
When those two relationships with God and with your husband are solid and functioning, that's when I come in. When I am in my proper place, accepting my jurisdiction in our friendship, and you are content with healthy boundaries....oh, then I get to shine! I can help you bear a few of your burdens, and show you a good, good time.
Lord knows, I dearly love to have fun.