I would like to simply share a few words on friendship today. I’ve titled this blog after a nickname that was given to my friend, Aoife and I; after we were always seen dressed in black at any nice occassion. And it is quite a true description of us, if I must admit. I would like to express gratitude for friendships, such as with the Black Widow, as well as with the many others who surround my life too.
I recently read an article that listed the somewhat dangers there are to referring to your other half as your ‘significant other’. The post stressed that we should be embracing and celebrating many different types of relationships that are in our lives, that are equally significant in the part that they play. And ultimately, instead of striving for a human relationship to fulfill you or give you worth, to look to a God who engages in that kind of relationship; as He meets all your needs and you serve Him for ‘being enough’.
I’ve always thought highly of having friendships and considered myself a loyal friend. When going through a ‘weird’ patch in college, where I realized that I had hurt people in my friendships and had hit a little “who am I?” phase. One of the things I carried from that and for some time, was that I could never be a good friend again and to some degree I was afraid to get real close to some people. But God forgives and He restores and one of the friendships that impacted me the most right after that was from the Black Widow.
I had just returned from the States after living there for a year and was apprehensive about returning to Limerick and seeking deep relationships. The Black Widow and I were more acquaintances as well as housemates at this stage, but within that year, the Black Widow began to teach me more about unconditional friendship. I could say or do things and not feel that I would be judged or face repercussions of being somewhat ostracized, ‘because I had crossed a line and there was no going back’. There were no pedastools, just real authencity. I think that is what I would most advise looking for when considering the role your relationships play. Is there an honesty and an authencity present that humanises two individuals and allows one another to make mistakes and display a Christ-like love? Being real causes real changes and as the Bible puts it: As Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Prov 27.17.
This acceptance and few months of my life allowed me to shift my thinking again to restore more healthy relationships with those around me. And little by little, I either made new friendships, such as when my sister in law moved into my life, as well as remembering others from over the years where you could pick up from where you last left off. May I note here that those friendships are so wonderful too because although months could pass from one conversation to the next, it is as if time has not lapsed and you flow unawkwardly onto the topic of the day.
I suppose it is also important to be fluid in how relationships can change and won’t always be the same. You learn to give and take and to go with those changes. Sometimes, we don’t stay as close and sometimes we don’t talk as much. I remember before I moved to NZ, texting an old friend from overseas. We hadn’t spoken in ages and proceeded to have a twenty minute conversation where she shared her life with me, which was great. But at the end of the conversation she never even asked me a simple ‘how are you?’ and I realised how much that friendship had changed and perhaps felt a little one sided. Other times we find it difficult to accept those shifts and confusing for some time afterwards to get comfortable in a new routine of spending time with people.
All that being said, I’m grateful for each friendhsip that I have in my life and the various forms it takes place- whether it’s a random message once a year or a daily text or coffee date. I do deem them significant and want to thank each one for showing me many good and challenging things! I cannot believe that I have some travelling across the world to visit me ( although perhaps it is for The Lord of the Rings opportunities… haha just kidding!) and for the simple text/message/facetime/card/like that I have received while here too. I look forward to a good catch up in February!
So till then,