Forever Friends

friendsThe past few weeks have been uncharacteristically hard for me in the realm of friendship. A once happy but now careworn friendship finally went up, irrevocably it seems, in smoke. Since this friend and I shared many mutual friends, and our relationship ended in harsh words and accusations from my friend, it unsettled me seeing clearly that the way she would represent what had happened to our mutual friends would not be fair.

This was a difficult pill to swallow. Friendship is something I take so seriously. As an introvert, I keep my circle intentionally small and when I make that kind of friend, it has always been for life — though our lives may carry us far from each other geographically. It has been so rare as to be nearly unheard of for me to see that kind of friendship fail.

And just a couple of weeks later, another one-time friend, unrelated entirely to the first, was revealed to be slandering a family member I love dearly, both in court and to our mutual friends — using my own words taken from context to do it. And there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

For me, that was ten times harder than the first. But, I received a tremendous amount of support in the aftermath of both events. Any losses I might have sustained in friendship have been made up for tenfold it seems.

When I told one friend what was happening in regard to my loved one, he laughed at me. Big virtual Internet guffaws of laughter.

And you know, that was the most comforting response of all.

He knew my loved one and so he knew that what was being said about him was preposterous.

That was when I was able to really turn the corner in both cases. I saw that those who know my loved one know who he is and that will not change according solely to the words of another. I also saw that those who know me know who I am and nor will that change solely according to the words of another.

Those who don’t know my loved one or me and are inclined to form opinions of us based solely on the word of another don’t know us and so their opinions of us really do not matter. For peace to be restored to my life, I must not allow them to matter and the only person in control of that was me.

While I may never understand what leads a person to behave in the hurtful ways they sometimes do, Triune God does. No matter what they do, his heart toward them is not hard. He knows the reasons for what ails them — what ails all of us — far better than we do ourselves.

And this is where we learn from God to love our enemies — or better yet, to see that we have no enemies. Just people, in desperate need of compassion, healing and grace as we all are. Just people, feeling vastly inferior and that they can never measure up. Just hurting people whose pain overflows and begins to hurt others. God sees it all, understands it all and has restored it all — we just haven’t seen it yet.

Love never dies. The love I bore my two friends still lives, and I know that the love they once bore me still does too — even if it is very hard to see right now.

People who have become lost from each other here on earth will one day again be friends, even if it takes the next lifetime to realise it. I choose to live my life in anticipation of that day — to remain quietly a friend here on earth even if the gesture is not once returned.

It’s what Triune God does for us all — for all people — every second of every day.

~ by Jeannine Buntrock

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