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Be a FRIEND.

August 12th, 2011

Boo and her new friend from the library last summer...

I don’t care what anyone says, it’s not easy to make friends.  It’s not easy to make ONE friend.  It’s hard work.  It takes effort.  You have to put yourself out there.  Like this:

See new person.  Straighten your hair.  Do I have something in my teeth?  Sure hope not.  Swipe teeth with tongue.  Feels okay.  Walk across room to go meet person.  Okay, Terra, try not to be weird.  I’m not really sure what is considered weird, but just try not to do it.  Oh – they just spotted me coming across the room to them.  Here goes – no backing down now.  Ready…and SMILE…breathe…bummer, forgot a breath mint…too late now…extend your hand – “Hi, my name is Terra.”  PHEW.  The first step is over.  Now, ask them questions about them.  Shoot.  Didn’t think about that part.  Okay – how about, “Where are you from?”, “How many kids do you have?”, “Isn’t the weather great?” and …uh oh…I’m out…no more questions…shoot!  Think fast!  Um….uh….”Did you brush your teeth this morning?”  OH NO…I just did it and I told myself I wasn’t going to do that.  I was WEIRD!  DRAT!!

Does anybody out there relate to this?!  Is it just me?  There is something completely nerve-wracking to me about making a new friend – and I’m even an outgoing person!  It is so much easier to sit on the sidelines quietly, go about our own business, and not go through the uncomfortable scenario I just detailed above.  It’s no fun.  It’s scary.  And I hate to be vulnerable.  I REALLY do.

When we first moved to Kansas City from Colorado, I didn’t know but one person.  And she moved away shortly after we moved here.   I was depressed and missing our home, family, and friends back in Colorado.  We were financially stressed, balancing both a Colorado mortgage and a Kansas City rent payment, as our home had not yet sold.  We were living in a one bedroom apartment in a scary part of town, with our baby sleeping in a pack ‘n play in our closet.  And that apartment had cockroaches (that we eventually were able to kill off.)  Not to mention, it was winter, and we were mostly homebound due to snow and ice.  Not that I knew how to go anywhere.  I got lost all the time – and I even had a GPS!  (One time, I just wanted to find an ATM and our Garmin GPS actually directed me to the Garmin headquarters down the street from us.  Seriously?!  I wanted to go inside the building and ask if anyone there wanted to give me money!!)  :o)  That said – I was hurting and LONELY.  L. O. N. E. L. Y.  We were visiting churches, but hadn’t found one we loved yet.  I started taking Boo to a story time for babies at our local library.  A month later, I couldn’t stand it anymore – I HAD to have a FRIEND!  Did ANYBODY care?  I needed somebody to talk to!  Somebody that cared if I lived or breathed in this city!  And a little friend for Boo would be nice too!

Boo on a first playdate with one of her new friends from the library...

I sat in the library story time group and looked around the room.  Any number of these moms could potentially be my friend, but they all seem to know each other – to have somebody else to talk to in the room.  I spotted two other moms, however, that looked as if they were there on their own with their baby.  On two separate occasions I took up small talk with these moms and then finally mustered up the courage to blurt out (quite unglamorously, I might add) – “Wanna hang out sometime?”  I was sweating, clenching my baby, stopped blinking, and time froze for a minute, before each of them said yes, they would like to do that.  Sighhhhhh.  I’ve been so blessed to enjoy the friendship of these two different gals and touched that they would make time in their lives to be a friend to me.  They both had family here, other friends, churches they were connected with – they didn’t have to make room in their lives for me.  But – THEY DID.  I have admitted to both of them, now that we are established in our friendships and it won’t come off as WEIRD – that asking them for a play-date with our daughters felt like I was asking them on a DATE!  I completely empathize with guys worldwide now – I get it!!!  It’s SO not easy to ask a girl out!!

I believe God provided these two friends for me – and yes, I believe He even gave me the inkling of who to talk to.  He’s that kind of God.  He sees our hurting hearts, our intense loneliness.  He created us for RELATIONSHIP not only with HIM, but with each other.  He wants what’s best for us.  He blessed me with these two friends.  What I didn’t realize, was that just as He used these gals in my life, He was using me in theirs.  One of these gals recently told me, “When you introduced yourself at the library, I went home and told my husband, ‘I think I’ve met someone who is just as lonely as I am.’”  GOOSEBUMPS.  Really?  Here I thought *I* was the lonely one – never knowing that God, in His amazing, omniscient, all-knowing ways, was pairing two very lonely hearts together to enjoy the blessing of friendship.  Two birds, one stone.

My experience has made me more aware of who might be sitting around me that might need a friend or someone to just care about them.  What’s the story of the person standing next to me in line at the grocery store?  Are they hurting?  Lonely?  That gal at the playground is here alone.  I wonder if she needs someone to talk to.  That couple at church looks new.  I wonder if anyone has made them feel welcome and needed here.  Oh – they have kids.  Maybe a playdate is in order or a meal at our house.

Boo at the pool!

On a very wet and rainy Thursday afternoon a couple weeks ago, I was sitting at our neighborhood pool with Boo.  I had promised we would go to the pool and the weather was just not cooperating.  So, we went in the rain.  :o)  We had the pool to ourselves (Really?  No one else wanted to swim in the rain?!) and were just about to pack up, when a lady came in with her two grandkids.  They didn’t come to swim.  They didn’t even have their swimsuits.  She told me she just suddenly got the idea in her head to take a walk and check out the neighborhood pool.  A walk to the pool – in the rain.  Boo and I – the only ones at the pool – swimming – in the rain.  I don’t know about you – but I don’t believe unlikely circumstances like that just happen.  I believe they are orchestrated by an all-powerful God.  We engaged in light conversation, but before she left, she asked me if we would want to get together with them sometime?  To be honest – the first thought to go through my head was “no.”   We come from shockingly different backgrounds, not to mention the age difference.   My life is settling in here now and I don’t know that I *need* a friend quite like I used to.  Yet, I felt a familiar pang in my heart for her.  She’s lonely.  She needs a friend.  Yes, Lord, I’ll be her friend.

Funny how I can go through the loneliness I have felt, and yet still have the initial response of sitting on the sidelines and not extending myself to someone else.  I hurry on through my life, consumed with my own ongoings, blind to the person standing next to me.  My challenge to myself and to all of us, is to reach out and care about someone else today, even if it’s just through a simple smile or light conversation while waiting in line at the grocery store or chatting with our neighbor.  Be the person that CARES if someone lives or breathes.  Make someone else MATTER today.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” ~ C.S. Lewis

John 15:12 ~ “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

—  Is there someone in your life who makes YOU matter?  —

 

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