I remember Mrs. James, my grade school music teacher. She was instrumentally and vocally talented and it was her job to raise our interest in music and possibly find some talent percolating within. I am pretty sure I was graded on simply showing up because I have not been blessed with a singing voice.
The old wooden upright piano was tucked in the corner and a few of the stronger boys were called upon to assist her in pushing it to the front of the room. Mrs. James loved to jam out on that piano by teaching us African American Spirituals which always got us up dancing next to our desks. She calmed us down by gradually slowing the tempo of the songs we were singing and when she got us to finally sit back down, she taught us a new song. She started with the melody and then she taught us the words. The song was simple:
“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.”
When I was younger, I used to make friends as quickly as the beat of the African American Spirituals we sang. Not many of my friendships from that era have lasted simply because we changed as we grew, which is absolutely normal. Since then, I learned that common interests break the ice a lot more quickly than small talk ever will. As an introvert, I like meeting extroverts because they draw me out of my shell.
I treasure my friends. I am talking about the ones that no matter the span of time since we last talked, we are excited to see each other and we pick up where we left off, feeling like we never skipped a beat.
Spending the time it takes to get to know another person is never wasted time, in my opinion. Even if the friend was in my life for a short season, I know it was meant to be and I am thankful for the time we had together.
Truth be told, at times I feel blessed with many friends and at other times, I feel like I have no friends at all.
“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.”
I have a “golden” friend that ranks higher than any other; His name is Jesus. Although I knew of Him all my life, I didn’t really get to know Him until I was without a human friend I could easily reach out to during a dark period in my life. Jesus met me at my lowest point and did not judge me. He walked me out of the darkness and showed me His light.
In an effort to get to know Jesus better, I joined Bible Studies and started listening to Christian music and Christian preachers on the radio.
Jesus is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the Great I Am. Although He is seated at the right hand of God, is all-powerful and all-knowing, He became man to be an example in how to live.
He knows all about me and loves me anyway. He is the coolest friend to have because he doesn’t care if my hair is messy or my pajamas don’t match. He doesn’t care what kind of car I drive, but likes to help me get to my destinations safely. Such greatness and He wants a relationship with me and He enjoys my company. He listens, He loves, He died for me. He loves to spend time with me and is available day or night and loves our talks. Wherever, whenever; Jesus is the most available friend to me. He doesn’t get jealous when I spend time with other friends of the earth, as oftentimes, He is the topic of conversation. There is nothing I do that will embarrass Him, and He doesn’t do anything to embarrass me. Jesus must be an extrovert because he draws me out of my shell.
Jesus isn’t a “one-and-done friend.” In fact, He wants so badly to be friends with you too. If you don’t know who Jesus is, I would love to introduce you to Him.
In grade school, Mrs. James taught me about friendship in one simple song. As I go through life, I continue to make new friends while cherishing my old friends. I do not know who first said, “You become who you hang out with”, but I noticed the change in me the day I started really hanging out with Jesus.
One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.
I am shy. I am introverted too. I am embarrassed to say that it takes me a long time to warm up to people because of these two traits. However, if an extroverted person is interacting with me, I come out of my shell quickly and I make fast friends with people. I base friendship on trust, laughter, shared memories, and especially deep conversations regarding uncomfortable topics shared without judgment. One-on-one time is precious time to me. After years of trust, laughter, shared memories, and discussions regarding uncomfortable topics, I considered a certain person one of my best friends. During a discussion after I did something randomly unexpected for them, I said I did it because they are my best friend.
The look on their face told me otherwise.
It was a split second, but I caught it all on the tape I replay in my mind. I saw the furled brow appear as well as the questioning eye squint. Their lips remained pursed together. It was a split second, but that split second was packed with a punch.
I am not short of friends, but something triggered me to think about this person lately. I miss what used to be before I spilled the beans. Maybe the relationship was not really as strong as I had conjured up in my mind. I live and I learn. Some people stay in our lives, and others don’t. They weren’t my only best friend as there can be more than one based on the shared qualities of the relationship. I accepted the fact that they had other best friends as we cannot be everything to everyone we meet. But I was never on their list of best friends. Perhaps they hit their limit and had no room for me.
Situations like this make me recoil and go back to the shy and introverted person I am deep down. “Back to the drawing board” I tell myself. At the proverbial drawing board, I take inventory of who my friends really are. Who sticks with me through thick and thin? Who can I call on any time of the day and they answer me? Who does not judge me and loves me even though they know my sin?
I can count my absolute best friends on one hand. And the ultimate best friend is Jesus and he is counted on my heart. All I learned about being a friend, I learned from Jesus. He sticks with me through thick and thin, He answers me whenever I call, He does not judge me and loves me even though I sin.
Thank you, God, for your son Jesus and that I can truly call Him my best friend, forever. Thank you also for my earthly friends. May I continue to be there for them through thick and thin, answer whenever they call and never judge them though they sin.
Galatians 5:22-23New International Version (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
On November 9, 2010 I came out of the closet on this blog. Not the typical closet that most are accustomed to hearing about; I came out of an even more secret closet…the childless closet. This is the blog Blessing in Disguise, if you have not read it before.
It was a very vulnerable move on my part as only select people were privy to this information in the past. So why did I do it? I did it because I made peace with this part of my life.
I am a charter member of ChildlessNotByChoice, a childless website begun in 2002. I owe so much to Diane and Kimberly who founded the site out of their own need for a childless community. I thank the members there for their virtual hand-holding and understanding of the pain, fears, and frustrations of being childless not by choice. With all of their support, I have been able to make peace with my surgically removed dreams of motherhood.
For years I focused on the fact that children are a gift from God, and I wasn’t given this gift. I felt left out and I allowed this to block my view of all of the other blessings that God has given me. I realized this week that even though I am a parent to none, God’s children are everywhere and every age. I am able to share His word and love with God’s children I never bore.
I made my exit from the childless closet to let you know that while I was in there, I struggled with what I thought should have been my blessing. In my humanness, I was angry and confused with God.
Today, I am walking in faith, by the grace of God, knowing that I am right where I should be. I extend to you my virtual hand to hold, along with my virtual shoulder to lean on, from this day forward. I am willing to listen to you without judging, walk along side you without running away, and pray for you unceasingly. Whatever burden you carry, I want you to know the love of God.
This is a confidential invitation. I will only share your burdens in prayer with God.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.