photo Friends are the adjectives in the stories of our lives.

They can know you so well that, at times, you don’t even have to say anything for them to know what you’re thinking. A look, a glance, a shoulder shrug communicates volumes.

They’re the safe places to fall when we’re floundering. The support we need when we don’t have the energy to hold ourselves up. The hug that lets us know our feelings are understood.

They’re the hearts that break with ours when we grieve. The laughter that joins ours in celebration.

They’re the ones who make time for us when no one has time.

They add meaning and color to who we are.

Sometimes they’re people we’ve met randomly. Sometimes they’re people we’ve pursued. Often they’re dropped into our lives at just the right time.

Sometimes they can even be related.

484789_10151451393556274_1099585077_nAnd often, they are very, very different from us.

Every person who enters our lives offers us something of themselves, even it it’s only a word, a nod, a smile.

The corollary to that thought is that we, too, give a piece of ourselves to others as we interact with them. The more time, the more heart, we invest, the more of us is shared. The more of us is known.

That has been a remarkable learning curve for me over the past few years.

I’m a people person at my core. People have always mattered to me. But often I find that I enjoy them most when it’s convenient for me. When it suits me. When it works for my schedule.

It’s when we’re in need that the beauty and richness of friendship comes to bear. And we’re all needy.

Earlier this year I came down with pneumonia. Being relatively stubborn, I was unwilling to even consider it a possibility, though I knew I was feeling lousy and wasn’t getting any better. My friend, Marilyn didn’t put up with my protestations of “I’ll get around to doing it.” She made sure I got to a doctor. Made sure I got my medications. Made sure I knew to rest.

Then she brought over soup for me, since I hadn’t eaten in a while. And a dish for dinner later.

She showed up.

And I’ve got to tell you, it made a difference.

I didn’t even know how needy I was.

Marilyn is a busy woman. She had to count the cost to help me out. And she wasn’t doing it for the pat on the back. I honestly wasn’t all that grateful at the time.

We all need people like that in our lives. Friends who show up to help, to come alongside, to help bear our burdens.

We’ve got One in particular who is amazingly good at it.

“For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends with God.”   Romans 5:10-11

Jesus. The best friend I could ever hope to have. Not only did He show up to save me. He shows up every day to be with me.

There is no greater friend than that.

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