“I need to see you as soon as possible, this can’t wait.” Those were the words I read in a text message from my best friend. It was unusual for her to be so urgent so we decided to meet early the following morning for coffee. As I arrived at my favorite little coffee house in our small town I immediately realized this was no normal chat with my friend. “I’ve been watching you for the last 18 months and I am disappointed by what I see.” She then began to rattle off a list from the “notes” section of her iPhone. I sat in stunned silence. Hot tears ran down my face. When I tried to speak in my own defense she just talked right over me.
I have replayed that conversation thousands of times in my mind. Wishing I had gotten to speak my mind or that I would have just gotten up and left. It all happened so fast, so suddenly, so unexpectedly. She was my best friend in a small town. Our husbands were friends. Our kids were friends. What had I done to deserve such an attack? In the end I am thankful I didn’t speak because I am certain it would have done more harm than good.
Over the years I have had friendships that ended for various reasons. I believe some friends are only intended to be for certain seasons. It seems to be the natural flow of life. But when a friendship ends abruptly it is painful. Looking back I can see now that she was not the kind of friend I needed, but if I am completely honest the memory of that morning in the coffee house still stings.
So, what is a friend?
A friend will walk the journey of life beside you.
A friend will lift you up when you are down.
A friend knows your weaknesses and encourages you to rise above them.
A friend celebrates your victories as if they were her own.
A friend will drop groceries on your porch when your littles have the flu.
A friend is will show up on your doorstep when life gets tough.
A friend is someone who will start a meal train when you bring your newborn baby home from the hospital.
A friend is someone who will pray with you and for you.
A friend is someone who challenges you to be better, not because she doesn’t love you the way you are, but because she knows you can be more.
A friend is someone who will meet you for late-night coffee and make you laugh until it hurts.
A friend is someone who loves you no matter what, and may decide to fight for you if someone gets too mouthy on the internet.
A friend will love your children like they are her own.
A friend does not keep a record of your wrongs.
A friend does not let you cry in your favorite coffee shop.
And most importantly, a friend loves at all times.