For this blog post, I wanted to get a few thoughts from my best friend, Ellen, on friendship.
My words are in bold:
El, what does friendship mean to you?
(after careful thought) Sacrificing… and staying.
Friendship is looking at someone and putting their needs above your own - under every circumstance. It also means choosing to be the one that remains no matter how hard a storm blows.
Can you think of a specific time where someone was that friend to you?
Can I not use you?
(awkward fit of laughter)
Maybe someone else…
Uhm, I’m deciding between stories right now…
That’s awesome, that you have multiple stories -
Oh yea, it’s a blessing.
(after more thought) I’m gonna use Kim. Except this is really hard because there’s a lot of people who’ve stayed for me.
My senior year [of high school] was hell on earth, in a lot of ways. My parents announced their divorce at the beginning of the year, and it was really messy - a lot of lawyers, a lot of arguing - overall a lot of unnecessary tension. At the same time, we lost our house so my mom, sister, and I moved in with our aunt and uncle, and I did my senior year off a laptop on a mattress on a floor. For the whole year. And throughout this, Kim stayed really positive… ‘cause she’s Kim (chuckles) and just kept making the drive - which for her was like an hour 25 - to come hangout, go to the mall, just spend time together.
In January, when I was staying at my dad’s one night, he was in a really dark place and overdosed on some pills. Basically, it was just a really traumatic situation and that night I went back to my aunt and uncle’s house totally broken, really believing that I wouldn’t have a dad by morning. No one was handling it well so I felt very alienated… and Kim shows up that morning - I’m asleep on the couch and she comes and she takes me to Waffle House and just sits there and lets me cry over an All Star Breakfast platter. And then takes me shopping. And just spends the whole day, sitting there, listening to me occasionally cry, but also making me laugh - she was just the friend I needed.
I love that. I love Kim. Now, for the person struggling to be the kind of friend she was (and is) to you, what do you have to say to them?
Struggling to be that friend?
Mhm - to be a sacrificing lover.
… do it anyways. Even when it’s hard, especially when it’s hard. It’s always hard to be selfless. And unfortunately, if you don’t have Christ in your heart you’re never gonna get it. You’re never going to understand the whole concept of laying your life down for a friend… not just a physical laying your life down (even though if you’re a true friend you should do it in a heartbeat). But every day, waking up and doing something to put aside your own needs for the needs of another.
And that’s something you have to train yourself to do. That’s a mentality that you have to work at obtaining, because we’re selfish people by nature. But with the Holy Spirit in you, you’re reborn into selflessness.
(after a little more thought)
It also means getting to know people’s hearts, and doing whatever you can for that heart. In the littlest or biggest of ways, whether getting their favorite Starbucks drink just because, or sitting there as they sob inside a Waffle House while everybody stares… you do things for the people you love regardless of how uncomfortable or inconvenient they are. Friendship is never really convenient or comfortable, and that’s what makes it beautiful. *
… okay you can brush all that up and make it sound good ‘n fancy, Mel.
Psh, it was SO fancy. And true.
Nah, if I was fancy I would’ve known the actual biblical references in that.
Girl who needs a reference when your life is a reference hashtag AM I RIGHT, LADIES???
Okay, okay… so now to the college girl who just finished up a rocky freshman year, or maybe transferred to a new school, and is frustrated because all that her heart wants is this beautiful, Jesus-following community of friendship… for the girl who wants what you have so badly, but doesn’t have it, what do you have to say to her specifically?
First off, I’m sorry. That’s a really hard season to be in. And I don’t envy you at all. (lighthearted grimace and chuckle)
I think the best thing to do in that time is to ask God what the thing beneath the thing is. Ask Him why you’re in this waiting season. Ask Him what you can learn about yourself and about Him in that quiet time without people and noise to distract you.
The second thing to do would be to start praying for that community. Pray that the next people that capture your attention are people worth sacrificing and staying for.
And then the last thing: be that person. Be who you wish others were for you.
No decay, no death… nothing negative can come from that. It’s something God can use for His glory - but also, you are going to attract it when you are living it.
I got you.
Yea, be who you wish others were to you.
Awesome. Okay, so completely different question here. What’s one of your favorite quotes?
(long pause) Worship lyrics are running through my head so I need to think of an actual quote, haha.
No! Worship lyrics are so quotes! They’re poetry! The Psalms!
(chuckles) Well, the first thing that came to my mind was “May we never lose wonder.”
YAAASSSS. And that line is from “Wonder (spontaneous)” by Bethel Music feat. Amanda Cook… although part of me doesn’t believe that song was spontaneous because it’s SO GOOD.
Oh yea, haha. I wish I had a more eloquent quote.
No, it is perfect! And then, most important question of all… what is your Starbucks Drink of Choice? (Although I’m pretty certain I know it, this is for the readers at home)
(more laughter) Now I’m nervous because you think you know it. It depends… cool or hot?
Salted caramel hot chocolate.
But when you get the iced it’s the -
(same time, I kid you not) iced coffee white mocha
… with cream.
Dang it! I missed the cream.
I guess that means we can’t be friends anymore.
After all this talk, I guess that’s right.
(she laughs & rolls her eyes)
But hey I love you, thanks for sharing your wisdom with the Delight women around the country! You’re a great friend.
* Ellen suggests the book of Ruth as a great place to start learning about biblical, unwavering friendship!
** Mele suggests Waffle House. You’d be surprised by the beautiful, uniting vulnerability breakfast food in a grimy diner chain can bring out of you.
- Mele // @melegirma