About two years ago I thought about writing a book about friendship. It’s just one of my favorite things. With friendship I have community, I learn more about myself, I learn what it means to just be present with someone and how showing up is sometimes all the fixing you need to do, I learn the power of the two words, “me too”, I have so much fun and through friendship I am reminded of God’s love.
I threw my book idea out the window when I realized other people already realized these things and have beat me to it. It’s cool…now I just get to discover those writings and realize someone else is way more articulate than I am, so I’ll leave the book writing up to someone else. Well, I read one of those writings from Nouwen (one of my favorites) in Bread for the Journey. I already wrote one of the things he says about friendship, but here’s another.
“No two friends are the same. Each has his or her own gift for us. When we expect one friend to have all we need, we will always be hypercritical, never completely happy with what he or she does have. One friend may offer us affection, another may stimulate our minds, another may strengthen our souls. The more able we are to receive the different gifts our friends have to give us, the more able we will be to offer our own unique but limited gifts. Thus, friendships create a beautiful tapestry of love.”
Reading this resulted in another weirded out moment of…how does someone write out exactly what I have thought, but said it so much better!?! But, this is a thought I have wrestled with for a long time. I so easily get sucked into the comparison game and can see in others what I wish I had, or see someone’s friendship and wish I was that kind of friend with them, but after I truly realized that it is a waste of time and that comparison is the thief of joy I felt so much freedom.
Everyone is different, therefore, friendships will be different. I can’t look at my friendship with one person and expect it to be the same with the next person because those two people are different. And that, my friends, is a beautiful, beautiful thing. I wish more and more people realized this. There would be so much more freedom in friendship if we realized each person is different, no two relationships look the same, and we each have our own unique gifts to bring.
This is also why you’ll never see me competing for someone’s attention. I saw that game played growing up and I think at a really early age I realized how much I didn’t want to do that. I remember being in elementary school and thinking, why can’t everyone just love each other and be friends? How come girls have to get upset about who is friends with who? I’m thankful that I learned that early because as you grow up, not a lot changes.
I am who I am. I know who I am. I offer myself and all I can to my friends. It looks different sometimes to different people. I cannot lose time wondering how to have the same relationship with someone that others have because I am only me. Not much is gained from trying to compete to be “the best” so that people can like you the most. I’ve realized it’s a lot less exhausting and a lot more rewarding to be who you are. The right people are going to come in your life and love you. Don’t waste time trying to be someone else or wish your friendship was just like someone else’s. Just be who you are.