I am part of a ragtag group of friends. We are all so different: different ages, genders, backgrounds, seasons of life. We are different in the way we choose to express ourselves and the way we see the world. Some of us are gentle, some of us are a little more quilly. Some of us are quiet, some (ahem!) can’t help but over communicate. Some of us are a little more uncertain, while others bear a quiet strength. We are just so very different.
And sometimes, if I am honest with myself, these differences feel like too much. When communication is painful, nay, impossible, when I misunderstand and feel misunderstood, when I don’t do the right thing even though my heart is in the right place…all of these things make me want to throw my hands up and scream, “Why are we even friends??” It is frustrating and infuriating and disappointing in these moments.
But, every time this happens, this small heart-voice gently prods me to take a deeper look at the people who surround me.
You want to know why we are friends… because we choose each other. We choose each other in our mess and our brokenness and our miscommunication. We choose each other in our anger, our irritation, and our mistakes. We choose each other every day. I choose them, and they choose me.
These special people…these gifts to me, they teach me. They teach me how to listen, how to love, how to see people clearly. They teach me about Jesus, and they teach me about myself. They make me a better person. They bring things out in me that only they can, and they make the road through life a little less lonely and little brighter.
I think C.S. Lewis said it best when he wrote:
“In a perfect Friendship this Appreciative love is, I think, often so great and so firmly based that each member of the circle feels… humbled before the rest. Sometimes he wonders what he is doing there among his betters. He is lucky beyond dessert to be in such company. Especially when the whole group is together; each bringing out all that is best, wisest, or funniest in all the others. Those are the golden sessions…When the whole world, and something beyond the world, opens itself to our minds as we talk; and no one has any claim on or any responsibility for another, but all are freemen and equals as if we had first met an hour ago, while at the same time an Affection mellowed by the years enfolds us. Life has no better gift to give. Who could have deserved it?”
My friends bring out the best, the wisest, and the funniest in me. They are more than I expected and far more than I deserve. And all I can do, when the gap between my heart and their heart feels insurmountable is to keep showing up and keep choosing them each and every day.