In light of what recently happened (mourning the loss of a good friend), I was unable to share what I learned last Sunday since we lost him Monday. Now, as I wait for my laundry to finish and while my oatmeal dinner is cooking, I decided to take this opportunity to write down and continue with this therapeutic activity, blogging.
Last Sunday’s message was entitled, “Friendship – Doing Life Together.” The pastor shared again the story about the Rosettans in the U.S. and how they were outliving their neighboring towns. In a nutshell, the Rosettans lived longer lives compared to the others not because of their diet and geographic location but because they nurtured each other with the love of family and friends. Feel free to search online the mystery of the Rosettans in the U.S, if you would like to know more about them. You won’t regret it
After sharing the story about the Rosettans, the pastor went on with his message. He mentioned that just like the Rosettans, the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are. Choosing friends is like choosing values that we want to live with. When we choose values that harm us, we get sick but when we choose values that builds us up as well as our communities, then our heart also becomes better.
Today I choose to make my heart better, today I choose to go with the Constantinos as they celebrate an important milestone in Kaz’s life. I also had another equally good offer from another good friend, Earvin, but for now, I will take what Kino and Christy offered. I know I shouldn’t be blabbing about this, so I implore you to forgive me.
Going back to what I learned last Sunday, the pastor mentioned that being surrounded by good friends has the power to lengthen one’s life. Human connection is good medicine as it has the power to heal us and nourish us. It also goes without saying that being surrounded by bad friends has the power to shorten our lives. As what 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “…bad company corrupts good character. Allow me to share some qualities friendships should have.
First, there should be Constancy. The friendship that you have should be dependable and true. This was something that I saw manifest last week as we were mourning the loss of a good friend. Those who said that they were friends of Doms, did what dependable and real friends would do, they acted on their investment. We relied on each other as we were going through that rough patch. I think that was a litmus test to our friendship, when we acted on our investment and when we were there for him knowing that he would not know that we were there.
I got irritated with the lip service of some folks. I got mad when people said “Where are you? Let’s go together to where he is. You know that I am here for you, right?” Why did I get mad with what they said? The words they uttered were music to my ears, to me, it was like my first taste of water after going through an emotional thirst. It provided comfort to my weeping heart and aching soul but it was all for naught. These folks were nowhere to be found. I temporarily lost myself in my irritation at them and at what they did that I uttered some hurtful words to them. My intent was not to exact revenge but I was just overwhelmed with wave after wave of negative emotions. I had to withdraw myself from communicating with these folks to stop myself from saying things that I would later on regret saying. I apologize if I said hurtful words to you. You did not deserve that. I was grieving and what you did to me pained me. If you really were there for me and if what you said was true that I can count on you, where were you? Friendships go through some ups and downs, sometimes, friends push you away but real friends would just show up and act on their friendship investment, nonetheless.
When I was going through another kind of emotional pain, some of my real friends acted, dropped what they were doing and showed up just to be my side. For what you guys did, I will be forever grateful.
Second, there should be sympathy. You and your friends should have the same passion. According to Proverbs 27:9, “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” When you have friends who share the same passion, they refresh your soul.
Third, friends challenge you when needed. Friends can sometimes be irritating. We dismiss them whenever they are but God has a purpose why they are there who they are in those instances. An impossible situation or an irritating person was placed in your life by God to change you. I am having an “uh-huh” moment right now as I am writing this part.
Fourth, friends support you emotionally and encourage you spiritually. These days, some folks tend not to provide emotional support and spiritual encouragement since they fear rejection. As Christians, we should be ruled by fear but by the love of God. I know, this sounds easy to say but difficult to execute, thus we should pray to Him to give us the courage and the strength to act. Rely on the power of God and not on the power of our brokenness. When we get into altercations with our friends, we may say things that are not nice but remember that our feelings, most of the time, produce the words. When these situations happen, we should try to listen to the heart of the person and not just the words.
I think writing this also made me reflect on some of my opportunities as a friend. As your friend, I will journey with you through the tunnel of conflict. I pray that we would be the type of friends who act and not be limited to mere lip service. Let’s take that journey together and go from a superficial relationship to a deep, more meaningful and spiritual relationship.
Let’s make our friendship an act of life.