Monday, March 23, 2009

Treasured Friendships: Face-to-Face Real & Online Real

Okay. I've been wanting to write this post for some time. About a month ago, one of my very best friends, the woman who has mentored me for nearly 15 years of my life, came for a week-long visit (courtesy of my parents and her husband-- THANK YOU!!!). And right after she left, something happened that showed me the value of online friendships as well.

FACE-TO-FACE "REAL"
There's nothing like having someone in person who can walk alongside you in real life. Someone who knows your strengths, your weaknesses, the hurts & celebrations of your heart, the things you've done well, and the things you're working on. That kind of friend is priceless.

I was so blessed to have Angie here for a week, for us to be able to spend extended amounts of time talking through life, sharing our joys and sorrows from recent years, and catching each other up on each of our kids and their personalities and lives (she has five, all older than my four). We are blessed when God blesses us with face-to-face friends with whom we can be genuine. Friends who will call us on any negatives in our life, listen to the authentic struggles we're facing, rejoice with life's "highs", and love us through it all. What a treasure to have such a friend!

ONLINE "REAL"
As Angie and I woke up at 3:30 am to get to the airport for her flight back to Texas, I glanced over to our mailbox (which almost never has mail, since we aren't natives and virtually no one knows our address) and saw a bubble pack sticking out. I grabbed it and glanced at the sender, only to realize that it was from someone I've been blessed to meet through the blogging community, Catherine. I had completely forgotten that she had written and asked for my mailing address. I slipped her package into my purse and Angie & I had a good last hour or so together.

After tearfully dropping my good friend off for her flight home, I got back to the parking lot and remembered the package. Opening it up, I was blessed to find an extremely encouraging letter and a CD-- a "mixed tape" of sorts. Just a bunch of encouraging and fun songs from the heart of my friend Catherine. A friend I may never get to meet face-to-face. A friend that I may never verbally talk with. But, nonetheless, a real friend. We know some of each other's stories. We have celebrated some highs and shared some lows. We've talked philosophies, examined Scripture, and spoken truthfully to one another. And God worked it out so that I received her encouraging letter at what could have been a very sad moment in life. I'm so thankful for Catherine and the valued friendship we share.

However God brings friends into our lives, we can thank Him for it... for the treasure of real friendship. Authenticity. Understanding. Honesty. Thought-provoking conversation. Scriptural one-anothering. We live in a strange era where we can have really fruitful, engaging friendships with people that we once knew but no longer live near, or people who we have never known in person but have much in common with. Whatever the case, and in whatever form it comes, what a blessing God has given us in friendship!

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