“When we do the hard, intimate work of friendship, we bring a little more of the divine into daily life.”
In honor of my best friends birthday today, I have to say that this year living in Uruguay has taught me a lot about friendship. Cross-cultural friendships and long distance friendships, building new ones and keeping old ones alive, but more than anything I have learned that I love friendship. Like, I really really really really really love it. I love getting into someone else’s life. I love inside jokes. I love the deep mutual understanding that friendship creates. I love learning about people, knowing their stories, seeing their good and their bad and their heart. I love knowing that someone out there is on my team, someone knows me better than I know myself, someone understands my actions and my words without an explanation. I love having people so involved in my life that they know the beautiful and the painful and they can constantly give me grace and truth, help me to love better, and continually remind me to fix my eyes on Christ.
Shauna Niequist writes a lot on the subject of friendship and her language has been beautiful in her books (Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, Bread & Wine) and on her blog: “You know I believe friendship is God’s greatest evidence of himself here on earth. You know I believe everyone needs a home team: a go-to, show-up, middle of the night, come-in-without-knocking tribe that gets us through when things fall apart. You know I believe in circling the wagons—gathering your people around you to tell you the truth when all the voices out there are shouting bad news. And you know, of course, that I believe all this love and truth-telling and prayer and laughter happens best around the table.” My best friend is the one who introduced me to this author, to this idea of a home team, to this reminder that in friendship we see God. We have been friends living in the same city, in different states and even in different countries. In the last 5 years we have been through big changes, big fights and big forgiveness but mostly big love. Tons of talking and laughing, praying together, inviting each other into vulnerability and drinking excess amounts of coffee. We have learned how to love each other well and to speak life over and over and over again. Together we gush over Shauna’s words and deeply believe that friendship is God’s greatest gift, the greatest evidence of himself here on this earth.
In many of Paul’s letters he writes prayers for the people to whom he is writing. So often I read them and pray them over my friends and loved ones. Also, so often I am encouraged because I feel that I also have people in my life speaking to me with words like Paul, encouraging me to please Jesus, love well, and share God’s glory. “So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feeling so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11 The Message)
Through my Megan I have seen God so clearly: his constant pursuit of us, his understanding, his grace, and his love. Because of this friendship I have learned so much, have been challenged, and have been able to see God better. It’s never easy to let people in, let them see the messy in your life, and trust them with it, but it is always worth it. I don’t know how a random Caribou coffee date one day after high school art class turned into this beautiful friendship, but I am so glad it did. Thank you for consistently showing up, for showering me with love, for speaking my language, for allowing me to see God with eyes I normally don’t have, for life around the table, for toasts and prayers and memories and hopes for the future, for a real creative desire to live a lover’s life and for wanting others to know and experience the deep deep love of Jesus Christ.
Glass wall. Best friend. Love.
Happy birthday Megs!