Serendipitous

Sassafras with her sweet friends at her 10th b’day party

adjective, come upon or found by accident

Friendship is not serendipitous.  “Ahh, but it is,” some would say.  “I found my friend Susie completely by accident.”  You might have found her by accident, but I assure you, you won’t keep that friend by accident.

Over my thirty-something years of life, friends have entered my life as well as exited. The exits may have been my fault, but on several occasions, it was my friend’s fault. Either way, I have learned a great truth: even though a friendship may begin serendipitously, it will not continue serendipitously.

A common to-do list topper among my friends is to pursue a relationship with God. Each one, if polled, would agree with this statement: a strong relationship with God is only maintained with communication and quality time. Most of these same friends will work tirelessly to keep this relationship by adhering to the two items just mentioned.  However, many, including myself, fail to realize that those two elements are the exact ingredients to having a friend. There is nothing serendipitous about building a relationship with God nor a friendship.

Unfortunately, we women are all guilty of abiding by this concept.  We pine away because we just don’t feel like we have close friendships; no one ever calls to check on us; we’re too busy to leave the kids with the husband just so we can have coffee;  besides, no one ever invites us for coffee, or a movie, or anything else.  How do I know this? Because I’ve said these exact same words at some point.

Ladies, WE  are the cause of a lack of friendships. Ever heard the quote, “To have a friend, you must be one”?  There’s the rub. So many women want strong friendships but don’t want to do the work to keep one.

I’m speaking to myself.  Since I’ve been detached from my closest circle of friends, I’ve moaned over feeling lonely and disconnected.  But honestly, it’s not my fault this time! I´ve literally been displaced from my closests friends. However, I do remember a time when I quit pursuing my friendships. I gravitated to the surfacey relationships that are convenient – not the ones that require me to make an effort. And my reward was unrewarding relationships.

I’ve got to start practicing what I preach though. For the past 5 years, I’ve worked diligently teaching Sassafras about friendships: be kind to the unkind, be friends with everyone, include everyone, remember special occasions, call and check on a friend if they miss church, or extend well-wishes to those who are sick. Truly, I’ve always felt that instilling values of friendship to Sassafras was part of her spiritual training.  Why?  My theory is if Satan can keep us isolated, he can destroy us so much easier.  I wonder how many times a phone call or encouraging note or dinner invite would have drastically altered a friend’s life; yet, I didn’t take action.  There have been many a day when I received a phone message from a friend that silenced the lies that Satan had been taunting me with that day.  Even though it might have only been a simple, “Hey friend, just thinking about you!” “Hope your week’s going well.”  Or even “We need a Starbucks date!” It was vital to my spiritual survival – at least that day.

My friends, if you are reading this, please stop the pursuit of serendipitous friendships. Become the antonym of that: a deliberate and intentional friend. And if you’re feeling the pain of friendlessness, pick up the phone.  You gotta be a friend to have one!

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