One revelation I had was that someone who was once a friend can stop acting like a friend and become just a co-worker, a neighbor or a fellow parishioner. That has happened to me and I can look back and see that the hurt I felt was a mourning for the lost relationship.
We moved to this community over two years ago and I feel that I am still constructing a network of good friendships. It is not easy and because of past hurts, I feel like I am always testing the ice to see if the new friendships are real and strong enough to support me.
Being a mother, a homeschooling mother at that, doesn't always help. My house always has projects and books out. There are rhythms that we have established that don't lend easily to spontenaety. But my need for friendships is real and true and needs nurturing.
Elizabeth wrote a wonderful post a while ago that keeps going through my mind as I contemplate the gift of friendship.
I promise you that I will not spend days and days cleaning my house before you arrive. I will not stuff the evidence of life lived here into far recesses of closet corners you will never see. I will not pretend that the life we live here is
always ever perfectly ordered. I will not seek to impress you. Instead, I will endeavor to befriend you.
I will make sure that nothing gross will surprise you in the bathroom. I'll probably plump the cushions on the couch. I'll make you something good to eat and share with you endless of pitchers of green tea lemonade. Instead of coaxing my children to scour and shine, I will share with them the fun of expecting company.
I tell you all this--I'm doing it this way--because I trust you. And I want to be your friend. I trust that you are coming to spend time with me, not to judge me or take notes or compare me to anyone else. And I promise you that when I come to your house, I'm coming for you--your company and that alone. I trust you with who I really am, imperfect though that may be. I trust that the half-finished paint job will make you smile in ready recognition that you have been there, done that, too. I'm going to throw open my doors--and my heart--and be real with you.
Because that's what friends do.
And you're my friend, in every sense of the word.