Monday, January 16, 2012

What Friendship Means to Me

"I got it for you with extra pickles, because that's how I like it. I hope you like it with extra pickles."

My second pregnancy ended early in my second trimester. I had to go through labor and delivery, which I wasn't looking forward to. I was in a drug-induced haze much of that morning, but I remember things very clearly from that day over 9 years ago: Terry's concerned face, nearby the whole day, our pastor and his wife and my Sunday School director there praying with us before the procedure started, my best friend holding the tray when the drugs made me sick, and Allie's sandwich. She brought Terry and me some Chick-Fil-A for dinner, infinitely better than hospital food, which was nice enough in itself, but what struck me was that she wanted us to have the best chicken sandwich that she could order.

That was obviously a low point in our lives, but the outpouring of love and concern -- the way people went out of their way to come alongside us, the phone calls and notes I received from others who had gone through similar ordeals -- all of that sweetness made the bitterness much easier to swallow.

In How to Be a Best Friend Forever, Dr. John Townsend explores friendship, and one of the things he opens with is friendship in crisis. Yes, I like to laugh with my friends, I like to travel with them, to celebrate with them, but knowing that my friends are there for me when times are hard bonds us together in a way that a good time never could.

When there's conflict in my marriage, when my kids disappoint me or I blow it as a mom, I have friends I can turn to. I know that they'll listen, I know they'll understand, and they'll support me -- or if necessary, tell me that I need to modify my thinking.

One of the qualities of a best friend is being there. Last week, one of my best friends told me that she had committed to spend significant time last week to figure out a direction she should go. I called her towards the end of the week and asked her about it.

"I was hoping you'd call," she said as she shared what decisions she had made.

Was she testing me? Not really.  By telling me her plans and asking me to pray for her, she showed her trust and expectation for me to follow-through. She was expressing her need that I as a friend express my care by remembering.

GIVEAWAY: I really enjoyed this slim volume that reinforced what I know I do right in friendship and challenged me to go even deeper. If you read my full review of How to Be a Best Friend Forever at 5 Minutes for Mom, you can leave a comment and enter to win (U.S. and Canadian shipping addresses are eligible). You can also leave a comment here for an extra entry (but you must leave a comment on the review post).

You can also get an additional entry by reading and commenting the Five Friendship Rules to Live By excerpt from the book on 5 Minutes for Books.

I'd love to hear about a special friendship memory you have.


Ra├Čne said...

This is the sort of thing I've always missed, but never really knew how to get. I had a pretty strange childhood, moved around a lot, and was shy, so I never made any close friends. Now that I'm approaching 30 and pretty settled, it's odd because I don't know how to approach people or make friends when everyone seems to already have their groups of people they do stuff with.

Carrie said...

My second comment. ;) But this was my favorite post because it shared a little bit more of your story. I knew this about you but hearing the details (down to the Chick fil A) expanded what I know of how you felt.

This book really does sound quite awesome and allow me to say:

"I really hope I win!"


Lee said...

You rock, my friend. Thanks for caring.