Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Friends and Family

"Friends are the family we choose for ourselves!"

What a seemingly warm sentiment to calligraphy or cross stitch and give to someone.

But as I've aged, I've come to strongly disagree with this statement. In fact, I find it highly suspect and suspiciously hyped!  (Try saying that three times quickly.)

Now, most of you already know how I feel about friendship.  True friendship is a rare treasure meriting:           
  • copious investment
  • prose of appreciation
  • self-abandonment
  • loyalty bordering on ridiculous
  • and GRATITUDE!  Lots and Lots of gratitude!        
But to think that we can chose our family or disown our family in favor of friendships makes my breath catch in my throat!

I don't spend much time working on friendships that give me nothing in return.  Do you?  Most of my friends think I'm witty, enriching, creative, a great speaker and lovely.  (Well, I added the lovely part myself.)

The point?  Healthy friendships should be a balance of give and take.  But we seldom maintain friendships that don't benefit us. 

Most friendship arrangements go something like this:
  • You make me smile?  I'll keep you around!
  • You aggravate me?  I'll dump you!
  • You encourage or even flatter me?  I'll watch your cat for a month!
  • You refuse to jump through this hoop?  Don't call me anymore!
See, friendships can come and go based on how they make us feel.  I'm pretty sure that "B.F.F." (Best Friends Forever) was coined by high school girls who think an entire month is almost forever. 

In today's world, we like things nice and tidy; comfortable; matching our vision of perfection.  Friendship makes all that possible!  The control of whether you stay in my life or go, rests completely with ME!

Family?  You're stuck with family!  And that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Several years ago, Frank and I read a book by Gary Thomas entitled Sacred Marriage.  The premise of the book focused on God's ultimate purpose for marriage.  It's not about making me feel good or even about meeting my needs.  Marriage should make me more like Christ! 

And I don't become more like Christ when I'm surrounded by people who are there simply to appease, applaud and please me!  OUCH!!

Truth hurts but helps too.
  • The sibling that insists on reminding you of your most embarrassing middle school moments?  Shaving off some pride! 
  • The parent that perpetually tells you how THEY would raise your children?  Keeping you on your knees!  (How do they forget that they raised you?  That never made sense to me!)
  • The uncle that monopolizes every conversation at every family gathering?  Reminding us how unattractive self-focus is!
This list could go on but it's probably more beneficial for you to fill in your own family member that causes you to say, "Are THEY going to be there this year?  Oh, give me grace!"

Yep, God's sand paper in disguise!

We can not run away from family.  Somehow or other they keep showing up at every holiday, every wedding, every baby dedication.  And they bring their annoying, irritating, demanding ways with them.

Which means I don't get MY way!  Which means I have to learn to accommodate others!  Which means I'm putting them first!  Which means...................becoming more like Christ.

Just a thought as you prepare to head over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's House for Thanksgiving!



  1. Amen. Great reminder "its not all about me". Appreciate you!

  2. (Laughing)...they all show up! My family groups itself when we are all converged into one event:

    a. The Singers - "How many mics are there?"
    b. The Winers - who think another glassful is all it takes to make them singers...
    c. The Pedestal Sitters (who pray the police won't show up because of the Winers who may be singing)
    d. The Hippies who know that Love is the answer.
    e. The Floaters who visit group to group smiling and nodding, listening.

    I wouldn't trade my family for anything nor my LLFs (Lifelong Friends). God continues to add people into my life bringing richness, laughter, the bond of shared you, Sheri! Still working on the "step forward" thing with uncoordinated!