Monday, June 11, 2012

thoughts on friendships

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it really means to be someone's friend.  I touched on it a bit towards the end of my last blog.  I've been thinking about what it means to be in relationship with others.  I'm not talking about a romantic relationship.  I'm talking about really being in relationship with another.

Since I've been back from Kenya I've noticed a few relationships changing.  Truthfully, most of the changes started either before I left for Kenya or while I was there.  Some have changed for the best.  I've made decisions to set healthy boundaries with certain members of my family and I've expressed those boundaries to them.  It sucks, but it was necessary because of where this specific person is and the effect it had on me.  It shows me that being in relationship with others means speaking the truth, even when it sucks.  Even when it means that the relationship changes.  For this family member, I've always had a rocky relationship.  But I often tried to keep a front up that I wasn't bothered by it.  I had to learn that that wasn't the loving thing to do anymore.  Relationship means being truthful.

I've had a very close relationship change due to some conflict.  The conflict took a while to resolve (I take some of the blame there as well).  As we moved towards resolution I thought we had found it.  Until I was told that this particular friend didn't want to put effort in anymore and asked me not to either.  Relationships are work sometimes.  There is conflict.  And that conflict, when handled properly can bring growth and closer unity.  It's in these times that we must fight for the relationship.  Still, the question arrises - and I don't know the answer - how long to you fight while being met with nothing but utter failure?

I  talked about King David's friend Hushai in my last blog.  Hushai saw David being betrayed and rejected by so many.  Even at risk to himself, he remained loyal to David.  It couldn't have been easy for Hushai to remain David's friend, but he did.  He chose relationship over everything - even his own life!  I don't know about you, but to me, that's the kind of friend I'd like to have!  In our world our lives may not be at stake for remaining friends with someone.  But our reputation may be.  Our jobs may be at stake.  Our image may be at stake.  I made a decision to remain loyal to some of my close friends and have lost some of the above things.  You know what?  It was worth it in every case.  Sadly, I've also been on the other side where people that I thought were friends chose their reputation or image over our friendship.  It sucks.  It's really dishonoring.  Relationships are hard.  They require work.  Sometimes, more than we feel up to.  But in the end, it's worth it.

Last week in my Elijah House class we were talking about relationships.  We talked about how so often our Western World is more task oriented whereas much of the rest of the world is focused on the relationship.  I saw this in Kenya with my friend Daniel Juma.  There were many times sitting at his home over the last 3 years where we set aside the for and talked.  We encouraged one another.  As I thought to my relationships here in the US, I thought of my friend Jim.  I've known him since the 3rd grade; we probably became good friends sometime in the 9th grade.  I call him one of my best friends.  We don't talk terribly often and see each other even less these days.  But Jim is that guy that I know is a friend like Hushai.  Our friendship isn't based on what we can take from each other; it's a friendship that enjoys being around one another.

Yes, relationships are difficult.  They require work.  But man are they worth it!  We're relational beings.  We were created for relationship.  Healthy relationship.  And when we find a solid one, it's so important to fight for it.  Because the difficult times don't last forever - unless you want them to.

Just my random thoughts as I try to piece things together.  Sometimes I almost miss being younger when the biggest problem to face in the day was where to ride my bike to.

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