I’m not sure I’ve thought much about the word friend as a verb, but if I might stretch the rules of grammar just a bit (because believe it or not, sometimes I do let my creative side win out over the letter of English law), I’d like to consider the word in that light.
Here’s the thing: I like the way I friend.
I give until I have nothing left, and then I dig to find more to give. This can become unhealthy, and it has. It has hurt me, and it has hurt my family. I’m sorry for that hurt. But I trust that God brought good from my efforts, pitiful as they were.
I rarely dismiss an opportunity to help a friend, and if I do there’s a really good reason. Self care is a foreign concept to me, but one I am trying to consider more often as I age. There has to be a happy place between being a good steward of my mind and heart and body, and doing all I can for others.
I’ve had some friendship valleys, and while they were times of immense personal growth they were also some of the saddest and toughest times in my life. I confess that during some of those valleys I swore never to climb the mountain again. But I always do.
I like that I’m not a back-turner. When I say I will love a friend forever, I mean it. I’ve had friends turn their backs on me, and I never, ever want to make another human being feel like that.
I like the way I friend, but it isn’t because I’m so great–it’s because of the models of friendship I am blessed to follow. Namely, Jesus and my husband Steve. They have modeled everything I need to be as a friend, One I can’t see but Who holds me through storm and sunshine, and one I can see and touch through both. They love me madly, and they love each other, so we’re a pretty great trio.
As hard as it may be, I like that I don’t base how I friend on how my friends treat me. Not everyone friends from the same base, so I try to just love and remember that I won’t always be treated in kind.
I like my tendency to always see and presume the best in people. This is an importing part of good friending.
I am imperfect, which allows me to understand and have compassion for the imperfections of my friends.
I like the way I friend people of all ages. It’s because I love people of all ages. I always have. I love that people of all ages love me back.
I like the way I friend our children. Friendship has never replaced parenting, but as they have grown older the friendship element has grown and they are now among my best. I count my relationships with our children among the greatest blessings in my life.
I like that I am a friend of God, and that He grows our friendship moment by moment by all the beautiful and simple and unique ways He reminds me of His love for me. I like how all along this journey He keeps teaching me how to friend. I like that I can trust Him to never fail, to never leave, to always love.
I like that I long to friend like Him.