Friends are Thicker than Blood: "The Amity Shoe"

I’m deciding between two shirts in the fitting room when my phone rings. Oh, that’s probably hubby, I think. I reach for my phone and recognize the name on phone screen. I’ll call her back. I put my phone away, grab both tops, and head to the register.

The cashier is ringing me up when my phone rings again. Ugh, really!? Who is it now interrupting my shopping day?!, I say to myself as I’m reaching for the phone. This time, the name on the phone screen is a friend of mine. Without hesitation, I answer the call: “Hey, girl!”

Brief silence. Sobbing. Then I hear a quiet and shaky, “Hey…”

I gesture an "I'm sorry" to the cashier as I walk away. “Hey, what’s going on? Are you ok?” 

“Can you talk?” she asks. Even if I couldn’t, I wouldn’t tell her no. “Of course. I’m listening,” I respond.

I walk to my car as she describes her horrible and terrifying afternoon. I listen, reassure her, and listen some more. I suggest she spend the night so she's not alone and offer to change my plans to spend time with her. 

"Thanks for being a friend," she says. "Of course. That's what I'm here for."

And just like that, friendship trumped my day of shopping and pampering. 

I was having a random conversation with a college student recently and the topic of “how many friends do you have” came up. He told me he had a lot of friends, and my response was, “Wow, I wouldn't want to be you. That must be tough.” He didn’t understand - and you’re probably just as confused as he was. So, let me explain.

Nowadays, “friend” is a word we throw around loosely. We can “friend” someone on Facebook even though we’ve never met or had a conversation with them. We meet someone at a social gathering and the next time we bump into them, we introduce them as a "friend." Or what about the occasional "I know a friend who..." comment we make during conversations about someone we've hung out with a couple times. 

But the truth is that a friend is closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). Unlike family (who doesn’t have a choice in being related to you), a friend chooses to love you and allows you to be an integral part of their life. It’s someone whom you can be vulnerable with and is willing to help you carry your baggage. A friend defends you publicly and corrects you privately; judges internally and encourages you verbally; speaks the truth with love and offers a hand to help you. Most importantly, a friend celebrates your wins, cries with you during your losses, and isn’t afraid to see you rise above because they trust that you know you wouldn’t be where you are without them.

Now I ask you, how many people on your list of “friends” fit the definition? If you can count them with one hand, you’re in great shape! No one has the energy or time to be a true friend to the world. So it’s important to have a few friends you can count on and that can count on you through the good, bad, and ugly.

If you’re one to have a new “friend” each year, then you should reevaluate your friendships and your level of commitment. It takes time to build strong friendships, so you have to be willing to go through the process. If you're looking for “easy” friendships, I'm sorry to break the news to you, but those don’t exist! Friends were made to challenge and strengthen you. That requires bumping heads, getting irritated and angry, and needing space from time to time. Friends will challenge your level of comfort and provoke you to make wiser decisions. These are the things that build your character and make you a better you! They aren't called friends for nothing :)

Each post is named after a fictitious pair of shoes. The name “Amity” means “friendship and harmony.”