My friend Karen and I are “scrounging” friends, as she calls it. We both enjoy going to second-hand stores in search of treasures. I often smile inwardly when I get a compliment on something I bought at a thrift store and think, I only paid 99 cents for that.
Our scavenger hunts are therapeutic and fun. As we rummage we talk about things we value such as God, life, purpose, family, cooking, ethics, we offer each other a word of counsel when needed, and we share fun tidbits and our latest epiphanies with each other.
Yesterday, I told her I thought of her as my What-would-you-do-if you-were-me? buddy when I need a word of wisdom.
Though Karen and I don’t get together more than twice a year on a good year because of busy schedules, we have shared a few holiday meals together in the past years and in many ways she and her family have always felt like an extension of my own family. Each time we are together all it takes is a few minutes of catch up on what’s going on in each other’s lives and we’re off to chatting with the ease and a familiarity of Lucy and Ethel’s next-door-neighbor friendship.
Karen is one of those irreplaceable friends that remains loyal and supportive through the too lengthy lapses in our get togethers. I know she will tell me the truth if I ask her opinion on something I may be struggling with, even if her outlook comes with a sting. I really value that. Yesterday was our last “scrounging” for a while since she is moving hundreds of miles away.
It didn’t hit me until last night how much I will miss the ability to just call and get together for lunch and another round of scavenging. But I know that the next time she is in the area, or I’m in her area, we will make time to forage or a cup of tea knowing it will feel just as natural and comfortable as if she never moved away.
When I was in my twenties I wasn’t a very good friend, though I thought I was. I was loyal and honest in most ways, but when a friend asked me about how something looked on her or what I thought of an idea she came up with I would try to make her feel good rather than tell her what I really thought. Once a friend used curlers for the first time and asked me how her hair looked after she removed them without brushing through her hair. She thought it was supposed look the way she was wearing it. I wanted to tell her that her hairstyle looked incomplete and rather silly, like the hair of a child who’d been playing with curlers, and since I had never used curlers myself because of my own natural curls, I wasn’t sure what next step she should have taken with her hair. She was so excited and proud of her curls I didn’t want to say anything to hurt her feelings so I told her that her curls looked really good.
In Proverbs 27:6 the Bible says “Faithful are the wounds of a friend ; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
I left her home feeling guilty for not saying what was on my mind, and to this day I remember the guilt I felt for letting her down by not being sincere. She later told me another friend who stopped by that afternoon helped her fix her hair and that it looked really pretty, further cementing my guilt.
I wasn’t my friend’s enemy like in that proverb, but in my desire to placate her rather than “sting” her I offered her “kisses” that were deceitful. In my own insecurity I was afraid she would get offended and stop being my friend. My true concern was for my own wellbeing, not hers. I have come to learn since then that a much needed and lovingly-delivered sting from a true friend is usually an asset, not a liability.
Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s (or woman’s*) friend by hearty counsel.
* addition mine.
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013-2014 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com. ♛