Friday, September 4, 2009
Soft answers....and best friends.
Last night I met "my snippy self" again. She comes out every now and then. I was minding my own business getting my hair done when she made her appearance. My best friend was in the next chair waiting for her turn. We were having a "hair party" both getting beautified and I was so glad to be getting a trim. Everything was going along just fine until my friend kindly and helpfully said, "Are you sure that length is right?" You see, I had been complaining about it earlier, how I just couldn't do anything with it and I couldn't see my earrings because my hair was hiding it....blah, blah, blah. In an instant, out of my mouth came a very snippy retort. I don't know where it came from, I wasn't irritated, I was in a good mood, but there it was. Old snippy me right out there. I said rather tersely, "we talked about this earlier, she knows what she's doing."
A gentle (soft) answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
In my mind and to my ears, it didn't sound bad at all, but to her ears it sounded very harsh and unkind. I believe her because I know my friend. How could something sound so different in my own head, so much so that I was surprised by it when she brought it up later. She was wounded by it. She was reaching out in helpfulness, and was rebuffed.
Words said the wrong way can be just as painful as an insult, and I missed an opportunity to respond with kindness, and a soft answer....
What I didn't know was that earlier that day she had been wounded by someone else she had been trying to help. It was uncalled for and she didn't deserve that one either....My best friend is one of most kind, helpful people I know. She is one of those who never fails to get aside her own needs to give time and attention to someone else.
She really didn't deserve that.
My mind wandered back many years to when we first met. She had just moved to my hometown and started working in my company. We were both wounded souls back then. She had cut herself off from some negative people and places, to start a hopeful new life. Escaping the dark looking for the light. She just had been through a terrible accident and was still recovering from months of painful therapy. I had just lost my husband, had my whole world turned upside down. We were sitting side by side much like at the hair place. She innocently asked what I was thinking. I replied, "If it pertains to you, I will let you know." Wow, what a (fill in the blank)! I don't really know why she ever talked to me again. But she did.
We have laughed about that so many times since.....
She didn't know God back then, although she had heard of Him. I knew Him but really wasn't living for Him...so many conversations about God we had, so many prayers, tears and laughter shared.
That was about 21 years ago.....in many ways we are not the same people we were then. God has brought us both through so much in our separate journeys, but thankfully we have been able to walk the path together. So many things we have shared over the years....joys and sorrows. Her baptism to new life and running over a carpet on the way home, dragging it down the freeway. Jesus did have the wheel that night! (Nobody was hurt and we got off the freeway safely, one smouldering carpet later.) We have stood in the shadow the shadow of death.... planning a funeral for a stillborn niece (hers.) Seeing my sister-in-law valiantly fight a cancer who had the last say on this earth but not the next. She is with God waiting for the rest of us, as are so many others. Many other exits from this world to the next. Many prayers said together for our families.....so many needs. And now with parents getting older, we share grief over what the future holds for them and us....her Mom suffering mid-stage Alzheimer's. Nobody prepares you for that.
But still we have kept our best-friendship intact...snippiness and all.
I look back over the years and reflect on all that God has brought us through, and I marvel. Sometimes snippiness happens, and sometimes the best intentions go sour. But this has given me pause to thank God for such a wonderful friend and what a blessing she is to everyone, and me. Thank you Elaine for 21 years of "best friendship!"
Call your best friend today and tell her (or him) how much they mean to you.....
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (And it is not snippy) 1 Cor. 13:1-7