Friendships. Man, sometimes I'm so bad with that word. As I'm reading, Elizabeth George kept mentioning things like being loyal and forgiving, respectful of the other persons time, sensitive to what's going on in their lives, being attentive...and being encouraging.
WHAM...all of the sudden, that word hit me: encouraging.
Now, I like to think of myself as a generally encouraging person. I try to be friendly and welcoming to people. Probably more so on certain days of the month than others if you know what I mean. But I really want people to get a warm and welcoming feeling from me & not a cold, unfriendly disposition. However, when I began thinking of those whom I consider to be my closest friends, you know, the kind of friends that become your family, I realized that I am totally falling down in the job. I am so often caught up in what I'm doing...my day to day responsibilities as wife, or the photo's I've got to finish for someone, etc...that I forget to really pray for & encourage my friends. I forget about what's going on in their lives, how their marriage is or how their kids are, how work is going...what they're going through, etc.
Now I also realize that I have day to day responsibilities that must come before "hang-out time" with the girls or playing catch-up on the phone; things like being a helper to my husband and the running of our home life. But there was a quote in the book that so resonated with me. It read:
"We never wake up in the morning and coldheartedly, calculatingly decide, 'I think I'll neglect my friends today.' No, the neglect is most subtle. We just wake up in the morning and don't even think about our friends! Therefore our friendships need to be nurtured. You and I have to make willful decisions about the maintenance and growth of friendships-with both family & friends. And this takes time, care, and love."
Having read this, I realized that do try to make time for some of my local friendships...and they are such a blessing!! We have lunch or try to get together once every few weeks to just sit & talk & be together. But some of my long-distance friendships, some of the deepest & longest & most committed ones I've ever had, are the ones that I'm forgetting about. Some of it's natural b/c these girls are not in front of me everyday. They're hours away with families & lives of their own. Life happens and the good Lord takes us to different locations & walks of life. But these friendships are just as priceless to me as the people who are close by.
And these friends are the ones I'm forgetting to encourage.
So after reading that chapter, I begin thinking of how I can practically apply what I'm learning ... and especially what I can do to help remedy this lack of encouragement from my end.
I can drop a card in the mail once a month or so to let them know I'm thinking about them.
I can send an email to check in.
I can give someone a call when I'm on the road from one place to the other...even if it's just to say hey for a few minutes.
I can ask, really ask, how someones doing.
I can send a little surprise gift once & a while to remind someone that I love them.
And I know there's got to be more...(that's what the comment box is for, hint, hint!)
So now, my goal will be to implement these things, to work harder at remembering those I don't get to see often...those who are my long-distance friends.
To these girls, these friends I say:
My life is even more rich because God has given me you. I love you so very much & promise to work harder to be an encourager, companion, and a genuine friend to you.
"A real friend is one who helps us to think our best thoughts, do our noblest deeds, and be our finest selves."