Friday, March 8, 2013

on friendship

A great fortune cookie told me this once:  "If you want to have a friend, be a friend."  (Not strictly a fortune, but we can get into that pet peeve on another day.  Much more of a platitude?  A truism?)

I have always sort of habitually sucked at the practice of cultivating friendship.  I totally recognize that the best way to make close friends is to be there for people - to call just to chat, to offer them gifts and advice, to live life together in the big ways and the small ways.  The best way to make a friend is to be a friend.  And I usually fail.

For this reason, I have always been attracted to communities that foster friendships through shared experience.  Working at camp, living together with roommates before I was married, going to college and joining a sorority, joining a Bradley birth class.  These provide opportunities for like-minded people to gather in one place and share life.  And even still, all my closest friends are from these different opportunities.

My sister told me that making friends gets a lot harder after college (graduate school, in my case, which was kind of a college extension).  It's really true.  Losing an age-level cohort with at least some level of mutual interest is hard.  I like my colleagues a lot, and working at a church is much more social than, say, analyzing data.

But I'm not much of a friend.  My own life seems to take over all my time and energy and there is just no time left for long phone calls and shared coffee.  If it weren't for Jeff and my job, I might go a whole week without talking to another adult!

This is why I'm so shocked that people continue to be such good friends to me.  From bringing me to New York for a bridal shower to buying me lunch to overwhelming my family with gifts at our baby shower last weekend, I am shown examples of selfless friendship from every side lately.

And this wasn't even half!
It seems to be a kind of divine reminder that, in this life, there are no relationships that are equal.  There is nothing I can do to earn the grace and love of others.  All I can do is seize these precious gifts and attempt some level of reciprocity when the time comes.  I hope and pray that I can learn these lessons of grace!

1 comment:

Stephanie Carr said...

I love, LOVE, love being your friend, and I treasure the times when we get to have really good conversations.