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.
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.