Friends Make Friends Stronger
Posted in Courage/Perseverance
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
One total knee replacement plus two surgical revisions on the same knee plus a very public fall recently resulting in a hip replacement means that each year for the past four years I have found myself learning to walk again in the month of February. As any toddler can tell you, this is not an easy task, as you are required to coordinate balance, muscle tone, and stamina. It is a slow, measured challenge – much more of a marathon, then a hard-charging sprint. Fortunately, I have mastered it each time in the past, and I expect to master it again this time. Each and every time that I am down for the count, my friends rally around me. With Valentine’s Day in the same month of my recovery, I have been thinking about friendship. What is friendship? Who is a friend? Why do we covet friends so much?
Our society places a great value on friends. Social media exists so that we can determine our worth by how many “friends” we have. Making friends is something we encourage our children to do almost from birth. We excitedly tell our friend,s who have babies in close proximity to us, how great it will be that our children will be friends. A recent CBS Sunday Morning report on loneliness states that we need four good friends to maintain our emotional well-being. I encourage you to take a broad view of friendship.
Friendship is simply showing up. It crosses racial lines, gender lines, ages, and socio-economic lines. It is sharing a moment with someone you just met or someone who has been in your life for 50 years. It is making a connection with someone you are madly in love with or someone you will never see again. Friendship is doing something because it is the right thing to do. You might get credit for it or you may remain unknown. It is still all under the umbrella of friendship. I still have a 20-year-old note from the Day School that begins, “One of Henry’s friends bit him today….” Sometimes friends bite. We don’t always get it right. No one is perfect, but the task for all of us is to try.
Thank goodness my friends react to my situation a little better than Job’s friends. If you recall in the book of Job, Job suffers. He loses his children, his wealth, his servants, and his health. When Job laments to his friends, they encourage him to seek mercy. They tell him that he is being punished for his sin. Job calls them “miserable comforters.” I am surrounded by the “hands and feet of God” as I recover again.
God shows me what friendship looks like in so many ways. My husband compensates beautifully for his lack of a caretaker gene by setting up stations around the house so I have everything I might need throughout the day. My children are strong and independent yet concerned and caring. My friends are feeding my family, driving carpools and boosting my spirits when they sag. My school family at work is shuffling the students around so my students are not spending too much time with a substitute teacher. My school nurse sat on the cafeteria floor with me for 20 minutes as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Ambulance drivers apologized for how much pain they were going to cause me yet showed me a way through that pain. Faithful friends stay by your side and force you to watch The Food Network in the ER even though you missed your lunch. Nurses and doctors are truly God’s angels. My students are bringing me cards and notes and frozen meals. Students I don’t even teach are offering to hold my hand when I return to school so that I don’t fall down again.
I am often told how strong I am. I appear to have things under control, and people often turn to me for decisions big and small. I have found the real secret to strength is to surround yourself with strength, and it will make you strong. A rising tide lifts all boats. Speaking for the toddlers, walk toward your friends. The people in your life give you the courage and power to live your best life. Strength, like love, is not diminished when we give it away. It is returned exponentially. Consider that during this month of love.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the strength and love my friends have shown me when I’ve needed it the most. Help me remember to always walk toward my friends, not away from them, and to be grateful every day for my relationships. Amen.
Submitted by Linda Long