Every chapter of my life has been marked by an ache. In the good stories it casts a small shadow, in the bad stories it becomes one of the central characters. Loneliness isn’t the mere lack of a friend, it’s the desire to be truly understood. More than that, it’s the desire to be united with the one who understands. I have a suspicion that much of this ache will remain until earth gets swallowed up in eternity and I get to know just as I am known. That said, the Author is full of suprises. Occasionally I turn the page over and stumble into that sense of belonging.
Strangers when we met, we lived together for a week. We talked and talked deep over a mess of meals, coffee, prayer, and work. First with trembling and then with relief we took turns baring parts of hearts that long-ago-learned they weren’t welcome. Every reassurance of “I know exactly what you mean!” and “Me too!” brought badly-needed life and hope. Someone else gets it. On the third day we came up for air in an explosion of giggles. Onlookers stared as three self-proclaimed introverts laughed too loudly for no obvious reason at all.
“… but there is a friend who sticks closer than a [sister].” Proverbs 18:24
That word sticks (dabaq in Hebrew) contains two underlying meanings: to pursue closely and to cling to. There are times when you pursue goodness (“I will not let go unless You bless me!“) and others when goodness pursues you (“surely your goodness… will follow me all the days of my life“). That week, God’s goodness hunted me down in the form of two strangers who became sister-friends who stuck like superglue. A friendship forged in God’s fiery love. Our weekly chats remain the collective highlight of our week.
Here, we are free to show wounds and trade glory-stories in the safe place of total acceptance. We simply enjoy one another. We are united. I always thought that becoming one with someone else meant losing yourself, like when you mix two different colours of paint and they combine to become a new colour. Instead, I’m seeing that we find ourselves. We bring out the God-colours in each other, displaying them to their full potential. We reach inside one another to find the glory and then draw it out for all to see. That only happens in an atmosphere of trust. That only happens when you find a friend that sticks closer than a sister. To find one is incredible. To find two? That has to be God.
We need friends like that. If you haven’t found one yet, it’s my prayer that you will (and soon!). 🙂