Most of us would agree that we need friends. We need those people who love us just as we are, forgive us when we’re wrong, and laugh at us when we’re a bit crazy. These are the people who put wind in our sails and keep us moving along our path of life. These are the people who hold up a mirror for us and help us to see ourselves in a new light. Yes, they are a gift to us. BUT, what happens when even the best of friends have a falling out, or families become estranged, or children walk away? What then? It feels like the enemy has walked into the camp and nothing is quite the same.
A quote by Octavia Butler says, “Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when its all over.” This bit of wisdom can serve us well. Knowing when to be quiet is just as important as knowing when to speak up. I can’t help thinking that God may well adopt this rule for us too. There are definitely times when I am pretty sure He allows me to hurl myself into my own destiny. It usually isn’t exactly the one He might have designed for me, but the good news is, He has a lot of patience. I’m pretty sure I require a lot of patience so this is a good thing. His silence though, and that of your friends when they are choosing to back off, or seeming more like foes than friends, can be your winning lottery ticket. That’s right! You may have just won the opportunity to take a giant step forward, to be catapaulted out of your comfort zone and forced to look at the world in a whole new way.
Maybe this is the reason Jesus taught us to bless our enemies. Enemies can be valid teachers. Enemies can keep you on your toes, mindful of seeking the right step, actively pursuing the right opportunities meant for you. I’m not advocating that we all go around and slap each other aside the head and become each other’s adversaries. I am suggesting though that sometimes a friend, a real friend who sees everything good that’s possible in you, will disappoint you. Sometimes a real friend is working, even unconsciously, for your good when they choose to be silent or walk away. It’s worth considering.
Then, when you come back together, you can echo the words of Camus, who said, “Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” I’m so grateful for all the people who walk beside me. Warmest blessings to all of you…my love-you-a-bunch friends…today and always.