What is a Friend?

Recently I have been thinking a lot about friends, and not just who my friends are, but also what it means to be a friend.  I think for a long time I have thought of myself as a bad friend in many ways as I am often hard to contact, I take a long time to get back to people and sometimes I am just too busy for my own good.  But as I have gotten older, and as my life has been turned up-side down by the events of the last 2years, both good and bad, I have really had to think about, and challenge the reasons behind some of the friendships I find myself in, and whether or not they are ones that I want to continue and therefore actively be better at, or ones which perhaps have changed and for one reason or another aren’t ever going to be quite the same again.  I guess also in this, I have started to take time to think more carefully about who I choose to have around me, who I choose to let feed into my life.  And from there I guess, which friendships I have because they are good for me, which I have because they are good for the other person and which I have because they are good for both.

I guess what’s caused this stir up is that in my own life I have learnt a couple of really important lessons over the last little while, and when it really comes down to it, whether I like it or not I have changed and my life has changed.  I think I have learnt that life is too short to waste time pushing friendships that just aren’t working and bending over backward for people who just don’t care.  I have learnt that when I make friends, I now make them for two, and even though Dave would never stop me from hanging out with people, it makes a huge difference if he like them or gets along with them or not.  I guess I have also witnessed how toxic bad friends can be and started actively guarding my heart a little more.  I have also grown up and I think because of that, started to expect that people behave in a certain way and therefore have been challenged by behaviours that either just don’t meet my standards or are just rude, and have questioned where this then fits in my life.

This is quite a turnaround for me, because this time last year when I was living in Castlemaine I felt as though I really had my eyes opened to how important my friends were and now here I am talking about true friends… and who makes the cut.  In fact in the that blog I said something very profound, I said

“It’s so easy to get caught up in what’s happening in your own world that you lose touch with the people that helped you get to where you are, so when you get a chance to stop and just hang, it’s nice and something that I am really learning to value.”

And this is still true and perhaps I have just let my own life get in the way again rather than appreciating those around me. But I guess I am also someone that believes in ‘seasons of life’ and the fact that friendships also have seasons and sometimes it’s ok to let go.  In fact in one of my favourite musicals, Wicked, there is a song that talks about this… the lyrics of the first verse of ‘For Good’ say this:

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you

I know that God plays a massive part in prompting friendships and relationships and that there is purpose for these friendships. But I guess at the moment there are a few friendships that I have were sometime I get hurt more often than not, where I am constantly disappointed, or let down where I can see a need to love and to care and support, but where my actions are not appreciated or worse, taken for granted.  And I guess my question is when is enough, enough… I know the bible talks about forgiving 70 x 7 times… and ultimately limitlessly and it highlights how much more we have been forgiven for and that instead we should love, love, love.  But is it ok to say no, to walk away? I don’t know, I have lots of people that say yes, but my heart for these friends in particular through the hurt and frustration says… no, stick it out.

I don’t really expect anyone to have the answer, but I am just sharing my thoughts on where I am at the moment… perhaps it’s me that still needs to grow, to learn to speak up, to explain, to guide and to not be walked over… or perhaps it is time to let this season finish… I don’t know… I guess I am still working it out.

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