Heart Sick8:56 PM
"Bailey," she said to me, "you're my only true friend."
So many girls have said that to me. They say it after telling me their stories, their stories of rejection, lost friends, loneliness, broken relationships. So many want that special friend to love them for who they are, to laugh with them, to sit in the grass and watch the seasons change like sisters do. Like more than sisters.
The littlest things cheer them up. An email. A phone call. A Saturday afternoon of fun. It breaks my heart to see them so excited over those little things.
I don't know what to do. I want to fix up their problems and bind up their wounds and slip my hand into theirs and let them now that I can be strong for them. I can't. I know I can't. But I want to so badly...because I was right there with them.
In the here and now I look back to my longings for that best friend across the street as juvenile. I'm liable to say things like, "I didn't need a friend back then." What the truth is, I cannot say. Innocence gets jumbled up with rationality as one grows.
But I remember wanting so very badly for a best friend. A best friend who lived right across the street. A best friend who loved the same things I loved - namely, horses and American Girls. We would have a tree house together. We would sleep over at each other's houses. We would practically live at each other's houses.
Friendship came hard. I was shy. And superior. And silent. More than anything in the whole world, I wanted a best friend who was always there, always with me, right across the street, to be exact. I would pray that my Beanie Babies and American Girl dolls would come to life so that I could have that special friend.
I regret to inform you that God's answer was no to that one.
And we moved. Lots. And for the longest time, I had no friend. I came to my mother once and told her I wanted a friend. I was lonely. We lived in the middle of nowhere. We were between moves, between churches, between friendships.
"Maybe," she told me, "maybe you don't have a friend right now because Jesus wants to be your best friend."
And it's true. I learned so much at the feet of my Best Friend, then. But without saying that there is some spot in our heart that cannot be filled by God, I think there is still always a need and a longing to be loved and to love. Oh, I know what it's like to be alone, to sit in your bed and wish for the impossible until your body aches, to spend months in tears because the friendship you had is gone due to circumstances that, you think, are too much for someone so young to bear.
My heart bleeds for every single person - friend or stranger - who walks that same path. It's bitter. It's rough. And it's so unfair. I know many of my close friends are going through this...realizing they're different. Learning they're not always wanted. Discovering that people can be mean and clingy and just plain disloyal.
I've hunted for solutions and given hugs and promised that someday, somehow, everything would turn out right in the end. I don't know that. What I do know that there is no magical solution to making friends and influencing people.
What I have learned - and it sounds so cold and theoretical to one going through this, I know - is that discontent is not the answer. Bitterness is not the answer. Despair is not the answer. At one point I was such a cynic - scoffing that best friends were made-up stuff in storybooks. It wounded me more than my unanswered longings.
Loneliness is a heart condition that isolates all the love we have to share and keeps it all to ourselves. Love is not all take. It's mainly give. And when we break out our loneliness, our self-love, to share Christ's love to others...that is when the friends come. Friendship means sacrifice. It means spending a good part of the night on your knees praying for a friend's heart to change. It means crying for them when they cannot take all the pain. It means stepping up and saying hi first - even if you'd rather someone else do the same to you. It means forgoing being popular to hang out with the girl that annoys everybody else. Not for gain. For love.
It takes two to tango, if you will. Right now, in your hurt and confusion and loneliness, you may feel like you have nothing to give - nothing that anybody will want, anyway. But our one life we live...we aren't the only ones lonely and friendless. Others feel the same way. And no friendships would happen at all if someone didn't take the initiative to love at all cost, to love out of their pain.
So many girls have reached out to quiet, unattractive me and given me a new understanding of love. They exemplify the kind of friend I try to be. Those quaint little Hallmark slogans that smack of sappiness...I'm beginning to see that friendship is so deep and overwhelming that its truth seems shallow to cynical minds. I cannot guarantee a best friend across the street...but I can guarantee that you'll never meet her unless you step out across your doorstep and find out.