Oh, the fine art of friendship.
Surely, a lifelong craft such as friendship deserves the humility of beginning as a student and maturing into a seasoned master of connection.
I’d like to take a minute to acknowledge a few individuals who have intentionally expanded my working definition of friend. Deftly offering means of connection, they have purposefully demonstrated the kindness of Holy Spirit—the ultimate friend.
The overture of friendship has played the melody of transformation throughout my life. Without certain characteristics fleshed into the reality of friendship, I don’t know that I could have otherwise encountered the nature of God.
Those who have seen both the gold and fool’s gold of my character and stuck around long enough to continue mining, have taught me how to do the same in others’ lives around me.
The following are a few tales of friendship that formed me.
With an open door policy, this friend invited me into her home to share life stories, process decisions, and create space for refuge since I was a pre-teen. Inviting me, from the age of 12—present, into the ways of her life as wife, mother and educator, I’ve been graced to see the ways of Jesus expressed through this woman’s life. It’s easier to imitate when the subject allows for close examination.
I like to think of this friend as the faithful gardener who sows lovingly without need for acknowledgement. Undoubtedly, the fruit of my life is born of the friendship-discipleship seeds sown generously by this friend.
I’ll never forget, sitting across the table from this friend who gave me the permission I felt like I needed to sing. I had over-spiritualized the idea of singing in front of people, and she simply gave me the chance to go for it by asking me to join her in the service of leading worship.
When a talented individual tells you, “YOU CAN,” something inside simply jumps at the chance to find out if it’s true. The song of my life came out from the shadows when she lent me her courage to sing. To give one person permission to let out their gift—surely this is one of the most sacred of all.
Standing in front of a disenchanted, sparse audience in the Dallas Museum of Art lobby, I took a deep breath as I danced in a gig that honestly embarrassed me to be a part of. The smallness of the moment stung, but the attendance of a respected friend marked me deeply.
In good spirits, she engaged in the performance with enthusiasm. By celebrating the small victory of booking a seemingly insignificant gig, she redefined the eligibility of moments worth celebrating. What occasions deserve celebration with friends? Oh so many.
In each circumstance of friendship, I encountered a more fully realized Holy Spirit. What a joy to be enlightened to the nature of Holy Spirit through friends who tend to the soul, ignite gifts unto God, and advocate for our every success. To know Holy Spirit in others, this is formation through friendship.
How might Jesus be inviting you to sow into, inspire, or celebrate a friend this week?
How might Holy Spirit be calling you to the service of friendship?
Photo by Devin Avery.