For the longest time, I didn't feel like I had any close friends. I had a lot of people in my life who I considered great people and fun to be around, but I wanted more than that. I always have. I think we can all agree that it doesn't get easier to make or keep friends as time goes on, am I right? In adulthood, they require more intentionality and effort than in high school or college. The last year and a half though, I have been really focusing on cultivating deep friendships.
It might sound childish to say I have a "best" friend, but I do. Her name is Nicole and she has a blog (here) and I am certain that if you don't know her you would like her (and if you do know her I'm sure you're nodding your head in agreement). She is genuine. Kind. Caring. Funny. Fun. On the outside, we are very different people. She likes blue. I like pink. She is more soft spoken, I am more loud spoken (hmmm), she likes math and numbers, and I... don't. She likes to be in the background I like to be in the foreground.
What I've learned through my friendship with Nicole is that we must love each other deeply. It's easy enough to have friends to go out and have fun with, but until you are willing to go into the darker places of a persons heart I don't think true friendship can really take root. Nicole knows my insecurities and I know hers, we probably found those out the difficult way, but to expose yourself like that to someone causes a relationship to go from surface-y to meaningful.
A couple of weeks ago, I truly feel that our friendship went to a new level. Nicole and Kenny's dog, Marlie, was in an accident that caused a non-life-threatening injury that would cost close to $2000 to fix, so they had to put her to sleep. It was awful. She called me crying. Then I started crying. and then I prayed for her even though I don't know if God hears prayers about animals but I know he hears prayers about people so I did. I tried to comfort her and tell her it would be ok no matter what they chose to do. Later, we went to her puppy's burial, and we were all crying and it was terrible but I loved being there for her, with her. Because friendship isn't always about fun and silliness, it's about putting each others needs ahead of your own. It's about crying with your best friend who just buried her puppy. Marlie's death was sad but it didn't break my heart... what broke my heart was seeing my sweet Nicole, my best friend, devastated and distraught.
Fortunately, everything worked out and last night they welcomed a new puppy into their little family. Her name is Izzie and the cuteness just oozes out of her as she stumbles around finding her new legs. I got out of work and there was a note in my car, from Nicole, sharing her excitement with me as she left town to go get Izzie. I went to her house after she got home and celebrated and laughed over the new puppy and rejoiced with her in her happiness. Because I want to be her best friend all the time- in the good and the bad. In the sweet moments and the bitter. In times of freedom and in moments of insecurity.
In the last couple of months, I've been working on extending this sort of depth of relationship to other friends as well. It's not always easy and it takes time and learning, but I truly believe that it is worth it.
This is what friendship means to me. What does it mean to you?
(Nicole and her husband Kenny)