Loneliness seems to be the epidemic of our times.
When someone can die alone and not be found for days.
Isolation seems to creep into our lives like a dark fog.
This “Me” generation where self is espoused over all others things.
Just what is it that is so hard in our modern society about friendships?
We come from a generation of locked doors, cars and lives.
The society we live in doesn’t seem to like to generate close relationships.
In order to have close relationships we need to expose our weak underbellies to outsiders.
Relationships require risks.
The risk of being know and knowing others.
I need to be willing to open my life up to the access of others.
I need also to be willing to become involved in other people’s lives.
Jane Rubiest says this of friendship. “ I need to be the kind of friend I want to have.”
So I ask myself this question…
What is required in a healthy friendship?
The first that came to mind was trust.
Not always an easy thing to develop in ourselves.
I will need to go down many paths along the friendship road to find the right way.
I can be hurt more easily without my defences up
and so it will take a while to be able to trust another and to be trusted in return.
I will need to develop a trustworthy character.
I will need to give up safety and control.
Next was having a give and take mentality.
I have had many superficial relationships where there is a lot of take and not much give.
These are doomed to starvation and death.
Where there is not a free exchange of giving and receiving leads to resentment and bitterness.
These are not the seeds out of which strong friendships grow.
Then comes the need to be transparent.
My dreams, desires, opinions, concerns.
Giving another the right to look into my soul and offer comment or correction.
When I do this I choose to grow amd change.
I am able to develop, change direction if need be or even stop in some circumstances.
This type of friendship stands guard over and with me.
It is willing to call me out.
To tell me straight when I am headed for disaster.
To console me when I fall and to encourage me when I am in need of it.
I look for someone who displays maturity and wisdom (not necessarily in years)
Someone I can look to for sound advise.
Someone willing to stand watch with me.
To be accountable to each other and yet to have grace for each other as well.
This is how i become that type of friend.
By daily coming into the presence of my god and allowing the image of Jesus to be recreated in my life.
For then I am drawing from the wellspring of wisdom, patience and love that comes from god.
Two are better than one for they have a good return for their labor.
For if either of them falls,
the one will lift up his companion.
But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
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