I received the sweetest call recently. It was my sister but the voice on the other end were two of my favourite little people…her little ones. We understand each other pretty well with a translation from my sister. We talk often enough as girls but this call was interesting because it is the little people who orchestrated it.
Little Missy walked up to mummy and said, ‘Call a friend.’ My number was called and of course they recognised my picture and said ‘That is aunty,’ a little confused that she called me and not a friend in their perspective. ‘But she is my friend,’ Mummy replied and they smiled…it made sense to them in that moment and off they went chatting away.
So who are your friends?
I am not talking about people you barely know but are found in common circles. Neither am I talking about workmates or people in your neighbourhood you wave at. Nor drinking or coffee buddies. I am talking about people who will come to your rescue or cry and laugh with you. People who know your roots, paths and destination. You are working to become better and more influential in life.
You respect one another’s faith and ensure it is built. You challenge each other to walk into your ultimate fullness. You dream together, work towards the dream, attain it and dream again. You cheer each other, comfort each other and just have a drink or meal in silence when needed.
How easy is friendship?
True friendship is a work of art like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It took Michael Angelo four years of painstaking work to finish this work. Until then, Michael Angelo was better known a sculptor and he was set up at the instigation of two of his artistic rivals, the painter Raphael and the architect Bramante, who totally expected him to fail. He built a scaffolding and started with a painting of Noah and incorporated many stories from the old testament.
What captures my attention is the attention to detail and the commitment to do something he had never done to perfection no matter how long it took. He used the skills he had of bringing inanimate objects to life through sculpture bringing depth, character and emotions to the fore on the ceiling. He adjusted sizes as he went along until he got the right size that still captivates the masses today.
Can we build a work of art?
The simple answer is yes, the long answer is that it takes time. A recent series of conversation has me rethinking friendship. In one, it became clear that we often confuse friends and acquaintances. You cannot call me a friend before you know where I live, what I do for a living, what I believe in and for how long. If you don’t know any of these things about me, you are an acquaintance…no more.
The work of art and cultivation of a relationship is what takes us from acquaintances to friends. It takes time, effort and belief. Time because we hardly share everything about us at once and only do so because of trust. Effort because we will have to commit to conversation, dispute resolution, forgiveness, grace, sharing and much more. Belief because it is foundational that if I don’t have faith that our relationship is worth it then it wont be and I won’t invest in it.
Friendship is rather simple but needs work.
Very often in this age, we are online more than we are in face-to-face conversation and we assume that because we chat and comment on each other’s photos we are friends…hardly. You don’t have to be in the same town or country to build a friendship if you are deliberate and committed. Some of my closest friends are in other counties and time zones and the proof of our friendship continues to be the mutual commitment to make time for each other and to keep the lines of communication open no matter what. Our schedules are different so we have to be deliberate about making time for each other either by text, phone or other means of conversation.
It is about building bridges when one gets hurt and delving deep into our past to find and deal with root of our behaviour. If I have trust issues or fear or rage etc., I must dig deep to uncover the root cause, the real trigger, the foundation that has been built to allow that idea to thrive and control my life. If I am scared of being hurt, I must find the root and deal with it decisively. If I don’t deal with these things, it could scatter our relationship for good.
The clarity of a little one brought me deeper clarity.
Little Missy’s instruction to call a friend had us thinking through what it means to be real friends and truly love each other. It had us thinking about the meaning of friendship and its depth. It brought the depth of the commitment needed, to the surface and allowed us to re-calibrate our friendship.
- I am clear who my people are and how much I am willing to give to them.
- I am clear that my friends don’t have to look like me
- I am clear that I must classify the different people in my life and deal with each one accordingly.
- I am clear that common biology or genes do not make us automatic friends…it is built carefully.
- I am clear that I will do my part and build my important friendships and live free
- I am clear that I am building the foundation of my life one word, conversation, hug, smile and connection at a time
- I am clear that every good relationship is worth the effort it takes to build it
I am off to call a friend