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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Friendship (04/04/05)

TITLE: The Gift of Friendship
By Tammy McConnell


Gift giving, in the past, was a means of expressing how much someone means to you. The knack for choosing the perfectly appropriate “thank you” or “happy birthday” memento said, “I know you; I have your personality pegged. I have an insight into you. We are friends. We are close. Here’s my chance to show you how much I care.” Today, it has been reduced to an obligatory fulfillment of a registry. The receiver decides what gifts they would like to have and the giver fills the order; a modern-day solution to our fast-paced lifestyle worming its way into the “unwritten laws” of etiquette and acceptable standards. After all, who has time anymore to shop leisurely, cultivate friendships or even practice such a long-standing tradition as “heart-felt” gift giving? Even the hospitable cup of tea or conversation over the back fence has dissipated into a vapor of a memory once held in high esteem, a prized possession gripped firmly to the bosoms of the closest friendships. Gone...replaced with an email quickly jotted, often misspelled and nearly never “heart-felt” and a pledge of a phone call or a visit that never quite materializes as promised.

This new practice of self-indulgent, excuse-ridden friendship leaves even the most hardened hearts feeling lost, alone, and bewildered. Frankly, it’s no wonder that the divorce rate is at an all-time high and pharmaceutical companies cannot keep up with the high demand for anti-depressant medications. We don’t even have enough time to nurture our friendships, much less honor a marriage vow or tend to our own mental health. Commitment is a word reserved for employment negotiations and contracts; no longer valued in the personal realm.

That person that means so much to you should be able to tell without hesitation that you are their friend. Without affidavit, the representation of your friendship should be evident to all, especially if you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Your conduct, in all areas, is being carefully scrutinized by would-be fellow Christians and flat-out non-believers alike. The former begs to see you do the right thing, the latter desires to see you fail; thereby proving that Christianity has no place in modern day society. Don’t leave room for implication; it’s Satan’s desire to gain a foothold. Block his attempts to use you for his service.

A true sacrifice requires giving something of value. Friendship is a pretty valuable commodity, don’t you think? As a child, it was my fervent wish to have a “best friend”. I soon learned that once seized, that friendship needs to be nurtured, cultivated.

My favorite movie quote comes from the lips of Audrey Hepburn in the 1963 movie, Charade. “I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies, I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.” Her character, Regina Lampert, epitomizes the irony of friendship etiquette. Comparable to marriage, once secured, you relax…maybe a little too much.

True friendship, I’ve discovered, will stretch, bend and conform to life circumstances. My husband, five children, two dogs and I are now six states away from my closest friends. I find myself starting over. I have to make new friends. I am a child again, secretly praying for God to expose that “new comrade”; someone who will become my confidante and best friend. My old friends are treasures that I hold in my heart and converse with through email and yes, snail mail. We exchange photos much more now than we would have if we were still in close proximity of each other. We now have “proof” of our affection for each other. I draw on the memories of our times together when I start to feel down. I will not trade them for new friends. My hope is to enlarge the circle, never breaking the links, just adding to it. The Bible speaks of the three strand chord in reference to marriage I believe. But, this scripture holds true for friendships also. Once God enters the equation of your relationships, they will become stronger than you might imagine.

Wouldn’t now be a great time to give your friend a call, just to say “hello, you are my friend…thank you”?

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Member Comments
Member Date
Leticia Caroccio04/12/05
Great points made on true friendship. Very informative. Thank you for sharing it.
Suzanne R04/16/05
You use words very beautifully e.g. '... dissipated into a vapour of memory'. Have you read of the five love languages - sounds like for you, gift giving is a real love language. I have friends like that, and their gifts really do reflect how they value who their friends are. Thanks for the thoughts on how friendships are losing value in our fast-paced world - a good reminder. May God grant you, your husband and five children real friends in your new home, as well as continued joy in your old friendships that are now maintained over long distances.