In the past 3 months I’ve met two wonderful ladies. Both were beautiful, gracious and fun loving. I met them weeks apart, but shared a meal with each and got to learn more about the richness of their lives. They don’t know each other and I suspect that they will never meet, but they spoke the exact same words to me during our conversations, “Thank you for being such a wonderful friend to my son.”
I’ve thought of those words so many times and each time I do, I hang on each syllable as each one brings warmth to my heart.
It is a relationship skill that I’ve had to learn and practice over the past 3 years: to be a real friend. Before that, my relationships with men all started out as lovers. I would long to be loved and substitute physical intimacy for emotional security. We would start out lovers and I would hope that eventually we would become friends. But we never did.
I’ve learned that real relationships always start with committed friendships. Tim Keller asks some great questions in a 2005 Sermon on Friendships: “We aren’t the friends we should be either. It is hard. We don’t have great friends, because we aren’t great friends. Are we willing to open up? Are we willing to be there for a person unconditionally no matter what the cost?”
Keller goes on, “The night before Jesus Christ died, he was desperately trying to get the meaning of what he was about to do across to the disciples. In John 15:13,15, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. I lay down my life for my friends.”
I would like to re-marry some day and be a good wife. But I hope my mother-in-law will still say, “Thank you for being such a wonderful friend to my son.”
What greater honor is there than to be recognized as a true friend?