The way Carol tells it, I drove to their house, sat across the kitchen table from her and said,”I’m going to be your friend.”
I don’t remember it that way.
She and her husband were our new pastors. They were new to the area and she didn’t seem pleased to be here. We had kids the same age and in the same grades at school. We grew up listening to the same songs and watching the same shows. We knew the lyrics and lingo. We got each other.
It’s hard to make friends when you’re the pastor. People expect different from you. Our previous pastors were older. They were our leaders, not our friends.
Maybe Carol’s version is right.
She’s an introvert. Her mind always seems to be whirling, organizing and probablydoing quantum physics in her head. We’re as different as night and day and not just about quantum physics. I celebrate spelling it, she knows what it means.
Carol could change hair style as quickly as some people change shoes. From her dark brown bob to a streaked, short-cropped do that you couldn’t pretend not to notice. If it wasn’t what she expected, “It will grow out” she said. And it did, again and again.
While she was busy creating a computer program in her head, I was busy with my hands sewing. Her style was American classic and mine was DIY country. She’s 5’10’ and wears heels. I’m 5’4” and prefer sandals or Chucks.
Yes, we’re going to be friends. You can trust me. No expectations, just friendship.
It’s the people in my life who are different from me that make me better. They give perspective and model grace by accepting my differences.
Sometimes friends just happen. They develop organically. But sometimes you have to sit across the table, look them in the eye and say, “we’re going to be friends.”
The good ones will stick around. If they don’t, everyone is better off.
I asked my Facebook friends if people had to apply to be their friends, what would be on the application? Here are a few of their responses. What do you look for in a friend?
1) are you comfortable with hanging out and not talking? Or talking for hours?
2) are you comfortable with telling your stories?
3) are you able to hear long stories?
4) can you be really serious?
5) can you be ridiculously silly and playful?
6) do you enjoy music and theater? (extra points if you can play piano or guitar)
7) will you rescue me when I get stuck?
8) can I rescue you when you get stuck?
9) will you proofread my work without rewriting my content?
10) will you love my family?
11) can we be equals without keeping tally?
12) can we celebrate our differences, weaknesses, unique and divergent attributes, habits, and thoughts?
13) will you be my friend?