Find a Friend, Be a Friend

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.
– Henry D. Thoreau from “Walden”

file8191249426761Life is hard, and we’re all just trying to do the best we can. Some days better, some days worse. We struggle to succeed at work, to be good spouses and parents, to be healthy and well, and simply to be happy. Often we put up facades, pretending everything’s okay, even as we suffer. We don’t want others to know the truth or see the reality of our lives. Unfortunately, that’s absolutely the worst thing to do.

People are social creatures. We’re created to be in relationships, with God, and with other people. Simply stated, people need people, and not in a purely transactional way, like you may “need a guy to mow the lawn,” but rather in a fundamental, life-giving way. Human beings require intimate connections with others for emotional, spiritual and even physical wellbeing.

I am becoming more and more convinced that individuals can experience true healing and wellbeing only in the context of loving relationships. By that, I mean friends, family or professionals that truly care about you, that are willing to put themselves out for your benefit, people who are trustworthy and non-judgmental. It’s these loving friends who will listen, support, encourage, advise, and pray with and for you as you face your challenges. Good friends will stick with you in troubled times. Really good friends will tell you the uncomfortable truths that you need to hear, and maybe even give you a kick in the ass once in a while (if it’s the loving thing to do, and sometimes it is).

Whatever problems you’re experiencing, you could use friends or family like that to help you.  I know because I need friends like that too. Everyone does. Think of loving relationships as being a delivery system for God’s grace into your life. So many of your struggles can go easier for you if you can find, and be open with, even one or two good friends.

Of course, other people need friends too, which is why the best way to find a friend is to be a friend, but establishing loving relationships can be touch-and-go. Ask God to send loving people into your life and he certainly will. But be careful, not everyone is trustworthy or has pure motives, so don’t go all in the first time you meet a prospective friend. On the other hand, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and you will need to take a risk at some point. It’s worth it when it works out.

Let someone else know the “real you.”

__________________________

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.    Eccles 4:9-12