Thursday, January 14, 2010

Best Friends

I haven't had many people in my life whom I called my best friend. I'm not entirely sure why that is. Maybe I shy away from commitment. Perhaps I need more from my friends than one person can deliver. Or it could be (most optimistically) that I love all of my friends too much to set one above the others. I don't really know. I don't really think that having a best friend is a good or bad thing in and of itself. I think it depends on the personality and circumstances of the people involved. Personally, I've discovered that there are both pros and cons that go with not having a best friend.

  • Instead of having one best friend, I have a whole collection of best friends. I have my husband, the best friend who has promised to be committed to me no matter what. I have a best friend for when I want to just hang out. I have a best friend for when I want to discuss religion, philosophy, and life. I have a best friend for when I want to have fun. I have a best friend for when I want to be vulnerable and share my deepest self. I have best friends who talk sense into me and best friends who encourage and affirm me. I have best friends who help me relax and best friends who challenge me to be more loving and a better friend.
  • I'm not limiting myself to the character, advice, and support of one person. I have intimate enough relationships with more than one friend that I can feel safe dealing with personal issues with multiple people who have different viewpoints.
  • I have more people to ask when I need help. 
  • I have more time to spend with each of my friends because I'm not devoting the majority of my social time to just one relationship.
  • When I'm really upset, hurting, or in trouble, I don't know who to call. There isn't really one person who knows me inside and out that I know will be there for me under any and all circumstances. How do I choose who to count on and who to call when the chips are down?
  • Not having a best friend generally means that I'm not anyone's best friend either. I sometimes regret that I haven't made myself available to be chosen for this special honor in anyone's life.
  • I have to be sure to balance my life so that I maintain all of these special relationships. If I do have a whole host of best friends, that means I need to be aware of the needs of all of them, not just one person. 
  • I see people with their best friends, and sometimes I feel like I'm missing something. There they are, sharing the deepest part of their lives and feeling connected in a really special way. When I think back over the times when I did have someone like a best friend, that feeling of intimate and even unspoken connection is what I miss.
This list is only part of the story, however. There's a twist: God can be my best friend. I realize that sounds like a silly cliché, but I've realized that God actually can take care of all the items on these two lists. God can be whatever kind of friend I need. I can have fun with God, I can heal my heart with God, and I can be challenged and encouraged by God. God has all the answers and can help me through any situation if I sincerely ask for His assistance. God doesn't monopolize my time because He is with me all the time every day, even when I'm with other people. In fact, God is part of all my friendships with other people, and the love I feel for my friends strengthens my love for God (and vice versa).

There is no competition with God. I don't have to worry about being God's best friend, because I am special and chosen, and God shows me that that's enough. God has shown that He is committed to me above all else—He sent His son to die for me, and He is working every day to bring me closer to Him. God's commitment to others doesn't decrease His commitment to me, because unlike humans God has unlimited time, resources, energy, and dedication. In a way, I am one of billions of God's best friends, but that doesn't make me any less special to Him. God wants me to love Him first and best, but loving others helps me do that. God isn't jealous of my love for others—He encourages it! God nurtures my other friendships and teaches me how to be a good friend. He's eternally trustworthy, compassionate, and wise.

Whether or not I ever have a best friend on Earth, I am really lucky to have a special relationship with God. He can do things that no Earthly friend can do, so even when my friends fall short I can definitely count on God. Still, God teaches me to see the best in my friends, so I hope that by being best friends with God I will learn to love them all even more.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

What's funny is that I've stopped trying to decide for myself who my own "best friend" is. Nick is very, very attached to the phrase and the idea of a "best friend" - to him it means something quite specific and exclusive - and so he has named me his. Marina never had a "best friend" in her life, but she calls me hers as well. For my part, if I had to choose between them, and I won't, I'd be screwed. There is more than one person my heart calls to, more than one friend without whom I'd be much more alone in the world. I can as much call one person a best friend as another, and that's to say nothing of Sarah or you or several others!

I think I've resigned myself to being the "best friend" for whoever so needs me, but for me, I am happy trying to be the best friend I can to everyone who cares for me. I'd be a lousy friend indeed if I tried to form a hierarchy were none was needed.

So, it's okay if you don't call me your "best friend", and I hope it is also okay if I don't call you that, either. I can promise to be the best friend I can to you anyway! And, by the way, you can always call me. I may not be the be-all-and-end-all friend you need, but I will always be as much as I can.


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