Ms. Streisand was Right

At the end of my blog last week I wrote about finding a true anchor for the soul. Today I want to give a shout out to one of my anchors- my best friend. I’m going to cheat and include most of an old post from my previous blog- I wrote this ode to her over two years ago to make up for forgetting her birthday (I still cringe when I think of it). I corrected a few mistakes, but otherwise this is it!

           Will any one out there admit to liking that classic Barbra Streisand song, “People”? I will! My mom used to sing it a lot… “People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.” It’s actually a profound statement.        

                                                                        
There came a time in my life where I realized I wanted- and needed- friends. I was in college. I had superficial relationships with people that I didn’t have much in common with, and I knew there had to be more. I had heard about and seen best friends interact, but hadn’t experienced it for myself (I am not counting the grade school/middle school best friends who made me sign a contract stating that I was in fact their best friend). So I started praying… and praying… and praying. “Lord, I would really like to have a best friend, someone I can really count on and trust; a kindred spirit, someone who gets me and accepts me for who I am…” Something like that anyway. Several years later, after I left California and moved to Ohio, I found a church. And that church had a basketball team with some cute guys on it. One day I went to a game and finally met my best friend.

I wish I could remember all the ins and outs, all the events that created our relationship. Our first time hanging out was at Don Pablos, I do remember that! Since then we have had many fun moments centered around food. Once we ate ourselves into severe stomach pain at P.F. Changs, and I can’t count the late night trips to Dairy Queen and Coldstone Creamery. We had a love affair with food alright. We shared a love of food, and now we share a commitment to eat right and stay healthy.

I remember this one church service where everyone was running around while the band played classic “shoutin'” music; she said she felt the Lord told her to change direction and she did- and ran smack into me! We went flying to the floor, laughing hysterically: we always did have a spiritual connection (ha!). Once we decided to fast TV together for a month; since then, we have tried to push each other and encourage each other in the things of God.

Then there was our missions trip to Jamaica- we sat in our hotel room during a hurricane and wrote about the kind of spouses we want. And so many other memories- talking every day the summer she went to Alabama and I had just lost my fiance; me forcing her to ride the Maverick at Cedar Point (even though she cried); throwing all those great parties for each other and our friends; her gently and persistently telling me that a certain guy was wrong for me even though I didn’t want to hear it… I needed her then, and I still do. And not just for the food and the fun and the talking, but because she tells me truth. Because she pushes me to be a better person.

Have you noticed that there are not a lot of people out there who know how to be a good friend? Have you noticed that most people tend to take rather than give? They talk mostly about themselves, and they get uncomfortable and disappear when things get rough for you. But my BFF- she listens. She gives. She cares. She’s there. As Barbra sang so beautifully, we all need people- people like my friend.
If you have a person like this in your life- celebrate them, take care of that relationship, and thank God always for His gift.

As I read this and reflect on our friendship, what I want to add is that through this relationship I learned to communicate. In our years of living together, she helped me learn the importance of the daily recap- just sharing about my day in order to decompress. And then when we disagreed, or I was having a bad day, I had to learn to open up and share my emotions. This was so uncomfortable for me at first that I would literally have a physical reaction when I was trying to get myself to talk- butterflies in stomach, heart palpitations- but it got much easier.

In the past I put a lot of effort into spending one-on-one time with people, doing a lot of listening. I thought being a good listener was the key ingredient to a good friendship. Something major was missing, however. What I didn’t do was share my feelings. I didn’t show any vulnerability or weaknesses. I never needed my friends. There is one instance I remember where I changed my M.O. There was a point in my relationship with my Bestie when I felt that I was putting more effort into planning our hang out times than she was. I’m a natural planner, so I would choose restaurants, movie times, etc. That’s how I show love. It’s not a bad thing that she shows love differently, but I was hurting and feeling like she didn’t care. My default would have been to stuff the emotions down inside, let resentment fester, and maybe have one of those internal conversations I wrote about last week, but I worked up the courage to tell her. She received it well and promised to do more. Some days or weeks later she placed a note on my bed inviting me to dinner and a movie (with date and times preselected!). What a gal! She didn’t try to change who she is, but she made a gesture, and through talking about it, we gained a greater understanding of each other. Does this sound super goofy to you? It might, especially if you’re a guy, but it meant something (a whole lot) to me.

So when I look back on this post I think the key word is need. You have to show those you love that you need them- you need them to listen, give their time and affection, or do something differently. I have tried to apply this to my other relationships and it has helped. Besides, how can you get encouragement and strength and prayer from the people in your life if they don’t know you need it?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Auntie D
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 21:25:08

    I somehow missed this post and am glad I went back to it. This is truly insightful. It brought me to tears as I think about the wonderful relationships I have in my life. I have wanted to be the BFF to many, but most didn’t want to return the favor. I have 2, which is double what I expected. I am truly, truly, truly blessed.

    Reply

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