The words hung in the air. They hung there refusing to go away.
My friend, Lauren, had been through a tough time and had felt that some of her friends who should have been there for her hadn’t. It was difficult to know what to say to make life better.
What do you say to someone who is really hurting, who has been badly let down and feels isolated and alone? When someone utters the words ‘I don’t know who my real friends are’ they are letting you into a deep part of their soul.
Lauren’s words that day have refused to leave me. They almost haunt me. They haunt me because they make me wonder what being a ‘real friend’ means.
Lauren’s pain was real.
Lauren’s pain wasn’t going away.
Lauren’s pain became my pain as I struggled to it make sense of it.
I think Lauren had a right to expect her friends to ‘show up’ for her. After all, isn’t that what friends do?
Lauren hadn’t wanted much from them. All she needed was for them to reach out to her. To call or text and say comforting words like ‘sorry life is tough.’ When this didn’t happen she was left bewildered.
As I thought about Lauren I realised that her friends did really care even if they didn’t show it. Lauren’s friends are good people who would be upset if they knew how much they’d hurt her. Its just that they are all living a ‘too tired, too busy, too late’ kind of life. Always rushing. Always playing catch up. Always struggling to juggle life.
A lot of people I know live like that – too tired, too busy and too late.
Showing up takes time that many of us don’t have. It also takes effort and many of us are worn out. It takes thought and we’re juggling too much already. Given all that, it is easy to see why some of us don’t ‘show up’ that often.
But we need to show up – not just for our friends but also for ourselves. When our lives become so busy that we can’t reach out to a friend in need – we need to stop and reconsider our priorities because our lives are clearly out of synch.
The thing that really saddened me about Lauren’s situation was that this was happening inside the church. Now I don’t think Christians have a monopoly on goodness – I’ve been around too long to think that. But I do think Christians should be good at friendship. And too often we’re not.
Lauren wasn’t asking for much. All she needed was people to show they cared. That shouldn’t be too much to ask of anyone you call a friend. If friendship doesn’t include simple care like that – then it isn’t worth much.
Most of us will start this week already playing ‘catch up’. Our To Do lists are too long, our inbox’s are too full and if you’re anything like me you’re wondering if you’ll get everything done.
So knowing that, why not take some time to do something that will make you feel good at the start of your week?
Reach out to a friend send a text, send a card, buy them a coffee – do anything that shows that you care. It’ll make their day, and probably yours too.