My symphony of friends

When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night…
All you’ve got to do is call and and I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend – James Taylor

It was the summer when my family of four became split into two part. Mama and I packed up her car and set out to all that was new. We left friends and the known for unfamiliar and oh, so different.

Her new job, her new life, took us from family and the familiar in Arkansas to Baltimore, Maryland. We moved into a comfortable apartment for the two of us. While she settled in her new job as bookkeeper, I spent the rest of the summer in this little space reading and listening to the radio. I found comfort in the soothing voice of James Taylor, and others. This song that played over and over the summer of ’71 brought peace in the midst of loss. God used these words to remind me of his friendship. That he would never leave me. That he’d be there.

around the center

I sometimes compartmentalize my friends. Not them so much as our relationship. I have…

…long time friends and new friends, music friends and sewing friends…

…friends who know my middle name and friends who are uncertain of my first.

I have friends who know parts of me better than I know myself and friends who only think they do.

I have Facebook friends, blogging friends, photography class friends and Instagram friends.

I have flesh and blood, I’ve met face to face, I recognize their laugh kind of friends.

For some, friendship has taken time to build. And the time has paid off.

Sometimes the best friends are the ones who aren’t so much like me. The ones who open me up to different perspectives and expand my view. They lead the way to new.

In our role as pastor, I’ve found it hard to make friends that go beyond the surface. Knowing our appointments are determined by our organization has made me hold back from committing to deeper friendships. It’s just to risky…the pain of knowing and loving and leaving.

Inviting people into your life can be scary. God didn’t create us to be alone. While God provides all of our needs in Christ Jesus, he often uses people to meet these needs. Unlikely people. People who don’t look like us or believe like us. They might even be people we never meet face to face. Or they might be family.

My life is richer because of the varied places these friends represent. They brighten up my darkest night. They are one of God’s many gifts to me.

 

More about Debby Hudson

Where do you find grace? Inside the church walls? Around the dinner table with your family? For years, grace was not much more than the prayer we said before meals or a biblical concept. Then I met a group of men who had, as we say, reached bottom. They welcomed me to Graceland. They showing me grace can be found in the darkest of places. I'm still searching and learning. I hope you'll want to come along.

22 thoughts on “My symphony of friends

  1. Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke

    I love that James Taylor song! Thanks for reminding me of it. Friendships are blessings for sure. Especially spiritual friendships. Praying for more of them for both of us. Blessings upon blessings!

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Thank you Mari-Anna. My friends are scattered all over so I’m especially thankful for modern technology to keep closer with them. We can always use more spiritual friendships. Another blessing of the internet.

      Reply

  2. Annette Tinholt Vellenga

    Oh i know that uncertainty in pastoral care… Good post.

    Reply

  3. Christy

    We sang that song in school choir my junior year. My parents had split several years before but that was the year Mom decided to move across town and I really had no friends, … I love me some James Taylor; so soothing and mellow.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Music can be a good friend, Christy.

      Reply

  4. Gabriele

    The symphony is a good analogy. All instruments needed but each playing a different part. Loved your post.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      That was exactly my intention in using the symphony analogy Gabriele. I knew you’d get that. Thanks for playing your part.

      Reply

  5. Annie Rim

    One of my favorite songs. 🙂 And, like a symphony, each friend plays such an important role! Sometimes I place higher value on those friends who know my middle name…. But I so need those surface friends, too. And those friends who I have never met in real life but with whom I can process so much more than some of my real life friends. All so essential!

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      I know what you mean, Annie. I think it’s okay some friends hold more sway with us. They’ve earned it, I suspect. But we’re more complete with the various parts. Basking in the full sound today 🙂

      Reply

  6. Tara L Ulrich

    I am always blessed by friends that stretch my thinking too. I think there is something holy about that. James Taylor is one of my faves too. Working in the church I so hear you about making friends and having to say goodbye etc. I’m in the 35 spot today.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Surely God brings even those different from us to us for a purpose. Thanks Tara.

      Reply

  7. Sylvia R

    I love that picture of a symphony! What an good representation of the wonderful mixture of friendships God gives us, their beautiful differences creating music that no one-instrument band could never produce!

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Thanks Sylvia. I do like that picture of a symphony.

      Reply

  8. Mama's Empty NestCindy

    How well I remember that James Taylor song. That comforting voice and lyrics. Reminds me even more of how comforting God’s voice is and how the lyrics written in His Word wrap themselves around us like a loving hug from a friend. God is always gracious to move us along (even though it’s not always physically) to a place where we find good friends. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would find such friends through blogging, I would have laughed in your face. But now….it’s true. Thanks, Debby, for being one of them. <3

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Me too Cindy. I’ve questioned the ‘realness’ of online friends but have come to know they are very real. Thank you, sweet friend. xx

      Reply

  9. Sarah Geringer

    James Taylor is my #1 favorite recording artist. I replayed his greatest hits album over and over each night in high school. My friends have helped me through so many hard times; I don’t know where I would have ended up without their help. Your neighbor at #fmf this week.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      His music definitely carries across generations Sarah. His voice sounded like a friend. I’m immensely grateful for the friends in my life too.

      Reply

  10. Martha G. Brady

    great post debby. great reminder of all the different kinds of friendships we are blessed with:) some of my favorites have been the ones that were people who were very different and brought different perspectives to my world.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      I appreciate the ones that challenge my thinking too, Martha. That seems to be an opportunity for growth. Even when we agree to disagree.

      Reply

  11. Betsy Cruz

    Debby, what a beautiful commentary on friendship. I’m so grateful for the many kinds of friends I have. I know what you mean about how being in ministry (pastor) can make it more challenging. I also find that to be the case, sometimes just the lack of time to get together with peers.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      That’s exactly it, Betsy. A lack of time together with peers. Technology helps but you can’t replace face to face and letting it flow. Thanks for your understanding.

      Reply

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