(Note: August 5, 2019 is National Friendship Day. With that in mind, I wrote this letter. I had several friends in mind when I wrote it. Maybe a friend or two of yours might come to mind as you read it.)
You are easy to love. What you are on the outside is what you are in the inside. There’s no need for me to guess, decipher, worry, fear, hedge. You are “without pleat” (which is the etymology of the word simple).
You are easy to love. That’s because you know so well how to love: by being honest and thoughtful… by doing little favors with no fuss… by allowing me to do little favors for you… by being interested in what’s going on in my life… by knowing my failings first hand, but accepting them patiently. You don’t back down when I am strong but wrong. You encourage me to speak when I am weak but right. You give me wise counsel not in a torrent of words, but most often through the example of your own living.
Friend, you are easy to love. I used to think that loving someone as much as I love you would be a major feat—or at least a strain. But no, loving you comes almost naturally. Our friendship is not so much an accomplishment as it is a gift.
You are easy to love, for you listen to me, not merely with your ears but with your heart. You give me another way of looking at things—often a better way. You laugh with me. You cry with me. You sit in silence with me. You aren’t afraid to say “I don’t know” when you don’t know. That humble admission makes it easier for me to accept the uncertainties, ambiguities, and mysteries of life.
You are easy to love. You give me permission to get angry. You allow me to be sad or to gush with joy and excitement. You give me a safe place to process this thing called living.
You are easy to love. You pray for me. You sometimes pray with me. Knowing you talk to God every day encourages me to talk to God every day too. And I do—sometimes even about you.
And finally, dear friend, one of the greatest gifts you give me is this: you like being with me. What greater compliment could you give me? You like my company… my presence. In short, you like me. And in doing that, you make it easier for me to believe that maybe—just maybe—God likes me too.
The old song says, “Thank you for being a friend.” But I say, thank you for being my friend!
Does anything here resonate with your experience of friendship? If so, what?
Is there anything you would add to this reflection?
What qualities do you treasure in your friends?
PS: It’s summertime! So I’m taking a little vacation from my blog—and taking a little extra time with friends! So, there will be no new post next Monday August 6. You can always scan the archives and reread a previous post, if you want. There are over 300 to choose from! My next post will be Monday, August 13. Meanwhile, I hope you’re enjoying summer too—if you live in the northern hemisphere, that is! To my dear Australian, South American, and South African readers, spring is coming!
There are many songs about friendship. I chose Michael W. Smith’s “Friends Are Friends Forever.” Even though it’s about having to say goodbye to a friend, it’s a beautiful reminder of our oneness with and in God.
What are you thinking and feeling today? Please share below: