I have been recently thinking about the privilege of being a friend. As Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loves at all times." Over the past month, several friends reached out to me to celebrate my birthday by treating me to a pedicure, taking me to lunch, sending me fun presents and calling me to let me know how much they appreciated me. I see each friend as a gift from God. As I think about my friends I can see God's beauty and creativity and love in their uniqueness. They fill my heart with gratitude and bless me in so many ways.
I felt special and loved. I needed it because in the midst of all the fun, my celebration this year was bittersweet as I remembered the joy of my birthday celebrations with my friend who passed away last year, knowing that we won't be celebrating together again till I am in heaven.
The privilege of having friends also means walking beside them in the hard times and sometimes even carrying them. We can't do life on our own. We are commanded to Love God and love others because God knew what we needed to have the best life.
As King Solomon wrote about friendship in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Two are better than one,
Loving others is a gift even when it is hard. A friend recently texted me and asked me for a favor- my response was "It would be my privilege." I meant it with every beat of my heart but it wasn't easy. You see my friend asked me to pray during the celebration of life for her amazing 29 year old son who had died two days before in an accident. He was just a couple of months away from marrying his beloved. My friend had picked out the rehearsal dinner venue and was so excited about the next stages of his life, welcoming his new bride into the family and dreaming of grand kids that looked like him. In an instant her dreams of planning a wedding were replaced with planning a memorial. It was devastating and heart breaking.
In the midst of overwhelming grief and loss, I saw the amazing sacrifice of so many friends. Several friends had traveled from far and wide to just be with her. Just as these friends walked with her to her son's basketball games and overnight trips, they dropped everything to walk beside her on this hard journey. His friends came to remember him and celebrate his amazing life. They surrounded each other with grace and love. They celebrated the privilege and gift of knowing and loving him.
Friendship is a wonderful gift from God that allows us to carry out our mission of loving others. It isn't easy but it is an amazing privilege to celebrate with those who we love and who love us.
Take a minute to reach out to your friends this week. Celebrate them. Rejoice that they are wonderfully made. If you have a friend that is going through a hard time, let them know that you are there for them. True friends do not run away from hard times but run closer to help carry each other's burdens.
Let me know how friends have helped you in hard times, carried you when you were weak and celebrated with you.