Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Friendship - A Beneficial Food Group

Friendship - a Beneficial Food Group
How many friends do you have? Sometimes I think I have one. Sometimes I think I have 5 or 6. Sometimes I think I have multiples of 6. A gathering recently reminded me that friends are this fragile, unique, ever-changing, inspiring combination of certain characteristics that draw me to them. And if I exhibit some characteristic that draws them to me, well...then we begin to share in this mysterious fellowship called friendship, giving and receiving, offering it up freely with love and acceptance, and friendship grows and becomes this rare treasure.
Just as eating certain amounts and types of food is recommended as one of the most important ways to achieve a healthy diet, a special combination of friends can bring together personality traits that strengthen, enrich, and motivate one to be the best they can be. They are different for all of us , but common threads connect.
I am not a psychologist, but I would venture to say that the areas in which one looks to others for friendship and finds value are the areas in which they themselves might feel the weakest. I think it must be what "compliments" a friendship. For example, a good listener is attracted to the one who can tell a story. And a good story teller certainly needs the good listener. It is a two-way street. That is not to say that the good listener should always have to listen. One must learn the art of give and take.
Here are some examples of friendships that compliment each another:
The one who makes me laugh, diminishes my quietness and lifts my heart; she sees the glass half-full and teaches me her viewpoint
"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."
Oprah Winfrey
The one who inspires me, pulls out my own creative efforts and encourages me to rethink, redo, start again
"Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit."
The one who calms and soothes me gives me time to breath and rest with thought-out, clear ideas .
"The real test of friendship is: can you literally do nothing with the other person? Can you enjoy those moments of life that are utterly simple? "
Eugene Kennedy

The one who challenges me and demonstrates in her own profession that I, too can begin fresh and contribute something in the workplace.
"You can always tell a real friend: when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job."
Laurence J. Peter

The one who confidently shares my faith and touches my soul, stabilizing and strengthening my heart.
"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing... not healing, not curing... that is a friend who cares."
Henri Nouwen

And overarching all of these unique characteristics of friendship is the little word "love." We often say we love someone, but are we patient with them? Are we kind to them? Do we envy them? Do we brag? Are we rude? Do we get angry? Do we keep a record of wrongs? Do we protect and trust and hope and persevere? Those are the words found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
Everyone wants to have a friend. Being a friend is first step.