And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Luke 15: 9, ESV
Friendships are made through a collection of moments. Maybe initially there is the spark of common interest, or an affinity that makes you come alive a little bit more. But for lasting friendships, there is a deep peace and certainty that comes from sheer time and presence.
I am a wee bit savage in many of the first impressions that I make. You could call them intuitive with a dash of cynicism. Historically, this has come from insecurity or, well… no it’s basically just an insecurity issue. Perhaps it’s because I have a compulsion towards antagonism, but if someone is popular or well liked, I find it difficult to keep an open mind. I think Oh, they think they’re so cool, well I’ll show them.
I have had too many “swing and a miss” moments. I inevitably realize my mistake, then write them a heart-felt letter about how dumb I was and how badly I feel; we hug and have emotions, then we are friends.
When I was a sophomore in high school, there was this chick Amy (not her real name). Amy waltzed into our school musical’s auditions and was instantly beloved. She had that real extroverted, theatre-kid uninhibitedness that directors love. I, on the other hand, have always hidden behind the shroud of self-consciousness. I now have a Master’s in Music Performance, and I still struggle with this. Ten years of theatre/performance experience and I still don’t have what Amy had at just 14.
I hated her for it. I found absolutely every reason I could to justify my dislike. And y’all, Amy went to my church. Amy was relatively new in town and she started coming to Youth Group and I didn’t care. She, impressively, landed the lead role as a freshman and I took all of my fear and insecurity and self-consciousness and jealousy and channeled it towards pure dislike for Amy.
I did all of this behind her back, obviously. I was nice to her face, because I am a southern lady.
And then she went to this youth retreat I had been to the previous year, and our priest asked me to write a few letters to her for support and encouragement. Awkward. In writing those letters, I realized that my anger and frustration was ridiculous and baseless. So I fessed up. We embraced emotionally the next time I saw her, and we were friends from that moment on.
After that, we had many shared moments, both at school and on youth trips. I grew to value what had once intimidated me. Due to complicated life circumstances (aka a boy, me being a dumb teenager, and differences in how we wanted to spend our free time), we didn’t hang out that much outside of school, theatre, soccer, and church. But because we had all of that shared background, I know that she would have been there for me if I needed her. And because she is a kind and decent human.
In the aftermath of aforementioned life circumstances that I was intentionally evasive about, I would come home from college and find comfort in the friends who really knew me before all of the weird complications. We would come together and laugh about our shared weirdness, those moments of delight and confusion that we experienced together.
And when I see Amy now, even though our lives look very different, and we only see each other occasionally, we can celebrate each other and the great things and the hard things because we have those moments stored up. We have those big and little moments of being together that have cemented our togetherness.