A couple weeks ago, my mom and I woke up early to go buy clothes from one of my dearest friends. It had been a while since I had seen her, but she was as sassy, joyful, and lovely as ever. And instead of letting me buy some of the clothes she was selling, she just gave them to me. She gave me piles and piles of clothes and such feelings of happiness and peace.
I have an Armenian friend who I met last summer, and I’ve been talking to her a lot lately. I’ve never met someone who can make me laugh as much as she does-in person and via various other means of communication. She’s talented and encouraging…I’ve never met anyone like her. She’s everything all the time, and I hope that I’ll see her again soon.
One of my closest friends and her precious family invited me to go to the mountains with them this weekend. We finished homework, and I had a wonderful time doing it because being around her always fills my heart.
I cried when I left middle school because I was leaving my chorus teacher, but now that she’s not my teacher, she’s my friend. I babysit her daughter, who I would also consider my friend even though the two of them are nothing alike. Her daughter helps me to be free and joyful in all things, and my former teacher helps me to be kind and feel loved throughout all things.
I could write forever about my friends on the football team, but two of them in particular brighten my life in such simple ways. They are in constant need of pencils and help with homework, and people who don’t know them don’t usually think too highly of them. I know them, though, and they make my days enjoyable and oh, so interesting.
A couple nights ago I went to the wedding of a friend I’ve had since I was six years old. Once, I told him that I wanted him to be my big brother instead of the one I had. He’s looked out for me ever since, and I’m indescribably happy for him. I have another friend who I’ve known for as long as I can remember. I don’t see him often, but he’s so genuine and takes the time read things I write when I need someone’s opinion. I also happen to be friends with his younger sisters, especially the youngest one. She’s talented and sweet and I have pictures that she drew for me all over my wall.
My favorite pastor used to sit with me during Sunday School while I drank coffee. We would talk and laugh, and his will always be one of my favorite friendships.
When I was little, during one of the plays I was in, I used to wait in the wings and sit on this guys shoulders so I could see. I can’t, for the life of me, remember what he looked like. I don’t even remember his name. He smelled good, and he took the time to make a little girl feel tall, capable, free, and peaceful. He died a few years ago, but that feeling stays with me.
(All these stories really do have a point. I promise it’s coming.) Yesterday, my sweet boyfriend’s mom told me, “I don’t know how you put up with him.” Y’all. My boyfriend and his family are honestly the sweetest people. I laughed, but I would hardly say that I have to “put up with” him. As I thought about it though, I considered all my friends, the ones I mentioned and the ones I didn’t, and how many times they probably put up with me. I thought about Christ and how often often He has to put up with me… and all of us. I mess up a lot. But the really amazing thing is that God doesn’t leave me when I do something wrong. He still puts up with me because He created and loves me. He can see the good that He put in me, and He doesn’t give up on it. He just continues to forgive and continues to love.
So, as we go back to school, I’m going to try to remember stories like the ones I shared, stories about the wonderful parts of people. Friends put up with the bad parts in each other, the same way Christ does. They continue to love and remember the amazing parts about each other, the parts that make life worth living.
I don’t want the way I treat people to be dependent upon their mistakes or the bad things they do. I want to treat them the way I treat all the sweet friends I wrote about. Because guess what? We’re all broken. We all need love. We all get put with by others just as much as we put up with others. I want to treat everyone the way that I would hopefully treat Christ because there’s a little bit of Him in all of us.
Note to self: When you get frustrated and want to yell at someone, take a deep breath and remember that there’s some Christ in there. Speak to Him. That person is a beloved child of God. Love them like He would.
1 Corinthians 16:23-24,