Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Old Shoe Friends

Some people bring relief when they arrive. Others bring relief when they go!

I like to call the former, “old shoe friends.” When you have an old pair of shoes that are really comfortable, they just go along with you naturally. They’re not squeaky and they don’t pinch your toes with every step. They’re not two sizes too small. In other words, they possess a welcoming, broadness of spirit. After all, as Benjamin Disraeili said, “Life is too short to be little.”

Old shoe friends accept you for who you are, and believe in you. You can turn to them for advice, knowing that they have your best interest in mind, and that you are not their project for “fixing.”

You don’t have to wonder where you stand with these friends. You know they love you, regardless of what happens.

This is not to say that old shoe friends won’t confront you if they see you making a mistake that is hurtful to yourself or others. A true friend will tell the truth, even when it hurts. “Wounds from a friend are better than kisses from an enemy.”

Old shoe friends bring comfort to the weary soul. They understand between the lines, and stand beside you in the darkest times.

A prisoner in New York once remarked, “Friends are those who step in when all the rest of the world steps out.”

Stepping in is what friends are for. “Greater love has no man than this,” Jesus said, “that he lays down his life for his friends.”

Old shoe friends bring courage to the fearful heart. Loneliness, like fatigue, makes cowards of us all. We were not created to face life’s trials alone. This is true from the beginning, and is why the Creator said, “It is not good for man to be alone” and then created a partner for Adam. We need companions for life’s journey – friends who will walk the distance with us.

A true friend living out 1 Corinthians 13, “Always protects. Always trusts, Always hopes and Always perseveres.”

Of course, you and your old shoe friends will have some frustrations along the way. When you know each other well, you have to live with each others’ weaknesses. However, true friendship doesn’t let the frustration stand in the way of compassion. We might disagree, but we can learn to disagree agreeably!

Old shoe friendships are forged over time. They survive the disappointments and distances. They find a way to put “charity into the clarity, and clarity into the charity.”

When communicating, there are always two things being communicated:

1) The information you want me to know

2) Whether or not you care about me

The second is by far the most important communication. I believe that couples struggling with communication get hung up on the first one (information) and fail on the second (compassion.) Good communication is not about relating information as it is making a connection.

As author, John Maxwell recently said, “Everybody communicates, but few connect!”

I appreciate these words from poet, Maya Angelou, “I may forget what you said. I may forget what you did. But I will never forget how you made me feel..”

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