“I forgot to buy water to take for the long road.” “What long road?” my husband asked.
“I am going to meet with my friend who is holidaying at Ballito.” Just short of rolling his eyes he said with a sort of sniff “that’s not a long road, it’s a thirty minute drive !” Well, I hadn’t left the confines of the busy city for a while, so it seemed to me, that it was going to be a long road ahead.
It was a sunny day and a pleasant ride, not long at all, and before I knew it I was at her gate. The joy of seeing a familiar friend is so delightful. We fell into chatty conversation that filled a four-hour visit.
We had crackers and cheese with our tea, as we did the catch-up on current events, the state of the country, the state of the Church, engaging on doctrine, remembering co-hearts from our former circles, sharing some family news, and shed a tear or two on little heartaches we had known. Tears in friendship are good. They make us real, and take the edge off being the super-women we sometimes need to be to those around us.
That is what a friendship can look like. It’s a safe space for sharing, a space that is conducive for necessary and honest conversations, that are undemanding, neutral and
comfortable. A lot of talking, but a lot of listening too.
But to get to a real friendship will require we take the long road.
Real friendships are not instant, they take time to form, time to be distant, time to be tested and moulded into whatever shape they will eventually become. Friendships can be fragile things, and can break at any time along the way. Real friendships need to be cherished and nurtured and watered to grow.
As woman we thrive on friendships. Probably because of the release of the feel good hormone called oxytocin in our system. Or, more than likely at the core we are talkers and need listeners. Or, perhaps we meet each other more easily at the emotional level. Women understand “heart-talk” – women understand women. Rare is the man who can say that he understands a woman. Probably it should be so, for each in his or her own role, compliment each other. Like a lock and a key – different, yet fulfil the purpose they are designed for – effective combination that unlocks potential.
And beautiful, beautiful is the soul-friendship of a husband and wife team.
There are many types of friendships. The “bromance”, is a compatibility of personality that can grow into lasting friendships. Men friendships have a real strength about them, it makes the world a better and safer place.
Of course it would also take time for these friendships to grow. Men are more cautious, because men understand men, and their protective and productive natures allow them to scan for the hidden agenda, the intruder, and for the thief. They are the providers and protectors of their domains their families and their homes. And will vehemently guard them, regardless of friendship.
Friendships are not just for woman and in essence are built up on good honest relationships.
Are good personal relationships the open secret of happiness ? That may well be true.
Friendships at best are reciprocal, a give-and-take. Often the highway of friendship will become a dead-end street when one just gives, and the other just takes. That is what you find out on the crowded highway called Life.
Friendships require mutual understanding, with mutual deposits and withdrawals into each others lives. Like a banking system, only with emotions, and feelings.
To build up a good balance – make big deposits often, keep the withdrawals small, with no obligations.
If we do this, not only will our relationships grow, but our finances too!
Good friendships are a gift, a rare find. It takes time to grow friendships, and that is why the road to real friendship is a long one, travelled lightly, with plenty of sunny spaces in between. And don’t forget to take a water bottle !
The friendship road is a road worth taking, a road to travel well, and along the way, with bumps and bends and all, will make of us better people. Let us celebrate our friendships.
A friend loves at all times……. Proverbs 17:17