That is the question…
No… My question, if this phrase can be construed that way, is, “What kind of person do I choose to be?” and do I have the impetus to become the image of that person.
As I’ve shared in times past, I’ve lived by a motto that simply states, “I want to be the best me that me knows how.” The best husband, parent, child, student, worker … whatever. You name it, and I want to be the best that I know how to be.
Of course, there are times that I don’t know how to be something so I scurry around looking for information that paints my pathway to success. Programmer. Pilot. R/C Airplane builder. Pastor. These are simply the natural bent of my personality and interests.
How about something more nebulous? How about being a “friend”.
Scripture tells us that to certain things are required to be a friend.
- A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 NKJV)
- A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 NKJV)
- Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:6 NKJV)
- As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV)
Again, in scripture, there are so few who were known to be “friends” of God.
- And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” And he was called the friend of God. (James 2:23 NKJV)
- So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:11 NKJV)
- Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? (2 Chronicles 20:7 NKJV)
From these biblical examples we study the “science” of “friend“, hence the study of friendship. Yes. I call it a science as it must be “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”
The “friend” we talk about is not someone who is family. It is often a person who matches me in connection and helps me when I need help without even considering the cost. It is necessarily someone who can hear my disclosures and listen to my ruminations and not run off and blab to everyone. It is the one who can help me sharpen the edges of my life as Solomon describes above, and no offense is taken or given in the process.
My wife and I know that we have so few “friends”. Our world is busy. Focused. We wind up our days with so little time or energy to engage with others, so we often become our own best friends. Of course, she’s been my best friend for nearly 45 years from that first date until now. She is the better half of me and I hope I am the better half of her.
Still, to have someone we can call on from time to time that we could classify as friends, or even close friends, well, that takes a definition of someone that we often struggle with. You see, King David had a friend that turned on him (Psalms 41:9). Even a King struggles with friendship.
I see a friend as someone who will go beyond all limits to be there for me.
There are a few friends in my life that I stay in close contact with over the years. “Close” may be defined as once a year or so, or even every season, or month. They live in Alaska, Texas, Washington, Tennessee, California (I know I’m going to miss some state!). They often answer the phone when I call, respond to the email when I write, and find the use of text messaging a valuable connection tool. I have a pastor that is my friend and I trust him to be there for me. I have a cousin who is a friend, more than he is a relation. There is a co-worker from decades back, a cubicle mate, that I enjoy being as closely connected with as technology allows.
Sometimes, yes sometimes, we let our friends down. And the truth is about all of us that we are often not the kind of friends that all of us might need in the present. Time, distance and changes often disconnect us from someone who was at one time a “best” friend.
One last scriptural reference…
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:12-15 NKJV)
What? Catch it? You are His friend if you do what he commands (teaches, examples). And we are friends if we know what he’s doing. This is the way with friends. We just seem to understand what the other is doing simply by their action or words.
I was thinking of Robert Frost’s poem almost as easy as I think of all my distant friends. Lovely. Dark. Deep. A little mysterious. I’m thinking about you this morning just like Robert Frost contemplating these snowy woods.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
The darkest evening of the year.
Of easy wind and downy flake.
These friends help me be a better “me”… And this is in line with my motto to be the best “me” that “me” knows how to be. Everything rests on my shoulders to become the image of “me” that I see in my mind.