How To Be A Really Good Friend: A Tiny Story.
Editor’s Note: Everyone wants to be a really good friend, but sometimes it feels impossible. It’s a daunting task. Sometimes it feels like attempts to be a good friend go unnoticed, and that we aren’t helping because we can’t actually fix someone else’s hurts or problems. Today’s post is Anonymous. It’s beautiful. – Lauren
Living in a new place was a difficult transition for me. I moved here for a job knowing basically no one.
I had lived in my previous home for my entire life, and had developed really strong relationships there. But when I moved, I was excited about the change. I figured I was following God to a new place, would make new wonderful friends, maybe meet a boyfriend, have a wonderful job, etc.
Starting your life over is much more difficult than it seemed, though. My job was good, but exhausting. I didn’t meet a boyfriend. God seemed so quiet, and more than anything, I was paralyzed with loneliness. I became closer with the casts of Gossip Girl and the Kardashians than any actual human being.
However, I did have this one remarkable friend.
I am confident I would not have been able to stay in this new place – especially during the long winter months – without her. She made me laugh, sat with me when I cried, dragged me to work out, and would even make me dinner sometimes.
One day she declared a day just as a celebration for me, and said we were going to re arrange my room so I’d have a space that was more live-able. She was so artsy and had an eye for that kind of thing, so after the transformation, my tiny bedroom in which I watched Gossip Girl was significantly more welcoming.
That’s just a little background for you, though.
That winter, in my relatively “new” town, I went on a date. I was sexually assaulted that evening.
Afterwards, I just decided it didn’t happen. I even went out with him the next day. I told myself, and the people who asked, that the date was good. I didn’t say that I was drunk, possibly drugged, unable to consent, and had a man nearly twice my size on top of me.
I had never done any of the sexual acts that I did that night. I was paralyzed with guilt. I figured that it was absolutely my fault, because I had been drinking. I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone, because a good Christian shouldn’t have been as drunk as I was. I had never felt so alone.
3 weeks later, I felt like I was imploding. I was disgusted with myself and with my body. I felt tarnished.
I asked this one friend if she would come over. Being the good friend she was, she did. We sat at my kitchen table, and I started to cry. I didn’t know how to tell her what happened, especially since I had previously told her that the date went well. But somehow, I got the words out.
Her response was possibly the most “Jesus-like” response I have ever received.
She heard my greatest shame, and just listened. She did not ask many questions, but just listened. She asked if she could rub my back, and listened. I am a messy crier, so then, she took her sleeves, and used them to wipe the snot and tears from my face. No one has ever willingly touched my snot before. I did not feel judged, I did not feel as though she did not believe me, and I did not feel alone. She wrapped her arms around me and loved me. She took me upstairs to her apartment and allowed me to sleep in her bed that night so I wasn’t alone.
I will never, ever forget her act of loving kindness to me that evening. Maybe it’s something silly, to be so immeasurably grateful to someone to using their own sleeves to wipe your tears and snot, but it truly grabbed ahold of my heart and whispered, “you are not disgusting.”
This is the difference that a good friend makes.
I am so thankful to the tangible Love that my friend was to me, and will always remember the grace she extended to me.
I know that I was so fortunate to have that friend. I know that some of you may be reading and experiencing enormous pain, or feeling abandoned or bitter if you don’t feel that you have a friend in your life. And to be completely honest, that friend is not perfect. She has also really hurt me. But we are so radically human, mistakes are inevitable. So rather than focus on the ways she has hurt me, I choose to remember the moment where she was like Jesus. He gives us these moments in our imperfect friends and humanity to be reminded of who he is.
The thing I am continually learning though, is that even if we do not have that close friend, we do still have Jesus’s promise that he will redeem us. That he has never left our side. That he knows our hearts, our heartbreak, and our shame. That he is still walking with us, even through the absolute darkest and most dangerous of valleys. And I firmly believe, that he does, and will provide us with friends to love, hold, and act out his love for us.
Do not give up on that hope.
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