I have been thinking about my friends and friendships after attend church services this past Sunday. You are probably already wondering what the title of this has to do with friendship, sharing and selfishness. Looking back on my life experiences and the wonderful people who have come into my life, I am reminded of the opportunities I have had in meeting those individuals and the pleasure of naming each one friend. I am not going to try to name all the people who have been influential in my life and the people who I call friends, I hope they all know they did make a difference in my life and helped to shape the person I am today. What I want to share with you is my personal perception of friends and friendships as they relate to me and possible offer support for anyone that might have similar feelings and/or thoughts. My thought on friendship is basically I have been blessed with wonderful people throughout my life. Sadly, some friends come and go but I am learning that God puts and leads people to come into our lives when we need what they can provide. On Sunday I had an epiphany about friends and now I have a better understanding of this quote by an unknown author, “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.” Those words have brought comfort to me more times than I can count over the years but with my recent epiphany I had not previously considered its meaning in a reciprocal manner. Friendships are not one way relationships, they are about giving and receiving. Another great reference Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
I have realized that as much as I want to hang onto friends, the truth is they are or were in my life for only a season. This is a subject that has haunted me for a very long time, I find it difficult to grasp why some people come into my life and then leave leaving a gap, empty space in my life. It becomes an obsession of “what is wrong with me?” or “what did I do wrong?” I believed that I had found a method to deal with this by telling people I meet and I wish to friends with, that “I tend to want to spend lots of time with new friends that “feed” me emotionally, socially and intellectually.” Not sure if this is a viable method of beginning a friendship? Honesty is the best method but this might be extreme. The truth I have realized is I seek solace and companionship in friends and I become selfish with their time. I want to share everything immediately as if there was urgency in learning about one another. My assumption that people want to give up all their free time to spend it with me, as if I were their only friend leads me down a lonely road. A mentor of mine shared a valuable piece of information with me a few years ago when I was struggling with the loss of a friendship, she said to me that someone may be 1 of 5 friends to me; therefore, making it easy for me to share and spend time with each one without neglecting one; however, I may be 1 of 20 friends to someone else making it more difficult to spend extended periods of time together on a regular basis. Additionally, just because my life is easily rearranged that is not a luxury for everyone. As I am remembering my friendships from my childhood to now; I can see the diversity of people God placed in my life and can look at those individuals with kinder eyes now that I have a better appreciation for what they added to my life. I am the person I am today because of all the people I have shared a season of friendship with. Sometimes friendships are renewed through the years while others are fond memories that seem to not fade over time. God continues to place special individuals in my life to share with, to learn from and to just be present with them if only for a season. God has blessed me with the spiritual gift of “giving” I love to give it makes my heart happy but even with this gift, I must be responsible and recognize healthy boundaries. Boundaries are critical in that they define who we are; they say what we want and what we don’t want, it’s a plan. Boundaries provide benefits to knowing our limitations and keeps us from overextending ourselves so that we can manage our health, safety and spiritual needs.
A note to my friends and family, I love you all and you have all added love and laughter to my life. I am learning to seek God for comfort and understanding for the emptiness I feel at times; realizing it is not the responsibility of my friends or family to fill the voids in my life. This is a process and I thank you for your love and patience as I learn and grow into the woman I was created to be.
−Recognize my neediness
−Respective of others time
−Friendships growing over time
−Friends are not possessions
−Free time is not a luxury for all
−Stop seeking validation from others
−Believe in myself
−Accept truth as truth
~Peace and Blessings~