I walked along the sidewalk with my best friend Kelli, her short wavy strawberry hair and short plump stature contrasting with my straight dark brown hair and skinny tall nine year old self.
“What?” I answered.
“When you walk, you walk crooked and you’re pushing me off the sidewalk!”
And that’s how it’s always been for me: finding one or two close friends at a time amongst the pleasantries of dozens of acquaintances, and walking close enough to them to lean into them when I’m talking and walking through life.
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
I wonder about the sharp countenance, and do I really need a friend to salt the look of the lines on my face? Besides, if iron strikes iron, doesn’t that make things hot and fiery? Maybe those fiery ones aren’t friends at all; they cause sparks, they leave bitter fruit, dry as gravel. They’re the ones that doubt your intentions, phshaw your efforts, and smile with their lips but not with their eyes. You never feel quite encouraged in their presence. Maybe you even feel defensive.
A good friend, though, is one that sharpens your resolve, your dreams, your faith. They use their sparks to push you to a greater more lively you. They whisper like the grass angels, cheering you on, “grow, grow” *, and they know when to apply the fertilizer of truth and rebuke with compassion and care. They hear your dreams and will find at least one good thing to say and leave you with. Much like the motorcyclists that greet one another while zipping by in opposite directions, they’re the ones that will still give you a high five as you travel your own highways, even if your bumper stickers differ. Even if you sometimes knock them off the sidewalk. It’s the kind of friend I long to be.
With that in mind, let me introduce you to four other ladies who desire to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ and want to encourage you, too. Consider them new friends of this blog. As you visit them you’ll notice we have similarities and differences….but we all endeavor to cheer our sisters on in the race worth running. I am humbled to be part of this group. Every week we’re going to share our take on a topic, and we hope it will be a welcome cheer for the race you’re running.
I for one am already blessed, for my walk on the sidewalks of life continue to alternate between focused determination and daydreamy side-stepping off the curbs. My friends know it. And they still walk with me by my side knowing the risks. I am blessed.
* “Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.” The Talmud
You can read more thoughts on Proverbs 27:17 this week at other High Five Mom posts. Tell them I sent you!