29 October 2014

Does every friendship have an expiration date?


God tells us to have fellowship, as in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"
Life is honestly better and easier with other people around us, says Galatians 6:2 : "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

There is a season for everything, right? The Bible says so in Ecclesiastes 3:1. But is it true for every relationship we will have in our lifetimes? Just a season?

Does every friendship have an expiration date?

I have had many friendships myself, but most of those relationships only lasted for a season. In some instances, I was happy about that, in others rather not. Mutual agreement of ending a relationship can certainly be like 'lifting a burden' and we will likely just walk away and never look back. However, when special people depart from our lives, they leave a much bigger impact and it is a lot harder to forget about them. And in a few rare cases, we might wish that we had never met a person in the first place.

Nonetheless, I kind of see a frightening pattern in our world today. Every relationship seems to end sooner or later. Who has a best friend that they had since childhood, or at least a few decades long? Why are relationships not lasting anymore?

I believe only a few of us can say that they have a long-lasting friend in their lives. I have had good friends and external circumstances separated us. I have had a best friend but it did not last for reasons I don't want to discuss here. Also I have long distance friends that I have had for a long time and we have seen each other grow. But something was always missing.
Consequently, I have come to the realization that my best friend really is my husband. We talk about anything and everything. We comfort each other in good times as well as through trials. We know we can count on each other. And it is beautifully freeing.

Though I am still looking for that cup-of-coffee-friend that shares life with me, during any and every season of our lives, I  am not that desperate anymore. It would be nice to  have that friend that I can call in the middle of the day to discuss my recent failure in parenting, or my success in sewing a pillow, or just talk about books we just read or movies we've seen. Simple stuff, but stuff that makes life better and more meaningful.

And it's not that I don't have that - many of these things I do, but with different people. Now I would like  that person to be the SAME person each and every time. I don't want to be replaced by the next new friend found in a new playgroup, or at the dance class. I don't want to be replaced due to an argument we've had over which noodles taste better. I don't want to be replaced by someone else because they have a nicer house. I want consistency. I want to be valued as a person that brings meaningfulness to someone else's life. I want to be irreplaceable.

What I have seen and the excuses I have heard personally, people replace people more and more frequently, due to silly things as 'lack of time' or 'inability to cope with recent events'. I have heard it all. And it is stupid! Just say that you don't want to hang out anymore, or you make time, or you get over that inability. "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17) We are on this earth to grow TOGETHER as 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says so well: "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up."

People, where is your perseverance? Isn't a "friend to love at all times, because a brother is born for adversity? (Proverbs 17:7) Where is your love? Your iron-sharpening rebuke? Your counsel? Your encouragement? We are FAILing each other for the sake of SELF-indulgence! This society has become 'all about me'! We don't care about others anymore. 

Yet, if we want to become more Christ-like, than we ought to "do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than us. Don't let each of you look only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:3-4 ESV) Yes, we need to trust, compromise, communicate, and be honest. There will be conflict and trials. But if we go through them together, than we will GROW together. The result is a respectful, but also safe relationship. Wouldn't we all want that? Trust can only be earned. And it will take a price, the price of being vulnerable. We will have to start admitting that we do need help and that we do need each other. I just want to scream: it is so worth it.

I am calling Christians and others alike to make a point in being more Christ-like. Do good, with actions. Don't hurt others with words or absence. Embrace the chance to change a life from worthless to enjoyable. Take time. Make an effort. Step out of your comfort zone. Sacrifice. It is our earthly duty to LOVE one another unconditionally.