Making Friends

 

I was terribly shy as a child (hard to believe I know!) so going to school and being around a whole bunch of new people for the first time was a daunting prospect. My mother’s encouragement to me was to “make friends” (which to my ears sounded like a good idea, I could design them how I wanted and they would like me because I would “make” them to do so) and sent me off into each new school experience with the same advice, “make friends.” I realized that what she meant in her statements was not to create your own friends just the way you want them to be but to build relationships with other people who are uniquely created by God. People with their own quirks, eccentricities, and desires for what the relationship would look like.

As I reflect on this month I am thinking about Making Friends. What does that look like? How do we do that well? Can’t I just build my own, you know, without the flaws and brokenness that people so often carry? Is there an easier way to do this than through opening ourselves to relationship and sharing our life with another? Unfortunately, I know that we can’t just create our own and if there is an easier way to build relationship with other people than through sharing life with them I haven’t discovered it!

I went to Yearly Meeting this month and had a good time. I got the chance to reconnect with pastors whom I had connected with at Pastor’s Conference/Retreat a few months ago. I also had the chance to “make friends” with a lot of new people! I always get a little nervous going to a group or place for the first time. I want to be accepted and to be a good fit for the group and have easy relationships there. Thankfully this was one of those times and I got to meet a lot of wonderful people from around the Yearly Meeting and listen to their stories.

As we try to live out our Christian faith we find ourselves running into a lot of people. People who are hungry for relationship with other humans and with God, we have the chance to “Make Friends.” This is often a slow process and one that is painful, broken people have sharp edges after all. But even though it is slow, hard, and painful it results in something beautiful: new friends. The effort of relationship is worth it because of the shared love we have and how much it adds to our lives. So, this month I encourage you to go out and make friends; to find new spaces and new people to engage in relationship with. Try something new. Talk to someone you wouldn’t normally. Find yourself blessed by the opening of a new friendship.