In the summer heat, we need water to quench our thirst. Maybe you have a friend with a well of icy cold spring water. What a good friend to have in the summer!
In the wintertime, when your feet are cold and fingers icy you could use a friend who has a nice warm fire to snuggle up next to.
Come springtime the need for a fire isn't so pressing but an umbrella would sure come in handy. When the sky is raining bucket loads, you look around and see your good buddy with an umbrella big enough that you both could share a picnic beneath it. That's the friend for you! You wave and call her name and she welcomes you into your her world.
Friends are wonderful. Good for loving and laughing with, great when you're moving houses, and each friend has unique abilities and strengths in specific areas. Some friends have wells of thirst quenching water, others a warm fire to thaw the frozen chill, yet another friend can bring a bit if shelter in a stormy downpour. Each friend is valuable but sometimes we place more value on the friend we need in the moment. When it's raining we can forget about our friend with the well she shares so generously. In the winter we're not looking for a buddy with an umbrella. I'm sure you see where this is going. Of course I intend to say that we should value our friends for who they are and not for what they can offer us but there's more. Sometimes our friends ARE what they offer us! When we are bitter and feeling used, a friend with a warm heart can thaw us. When life is drowning us in sorrow a sheltering hug can make all the difference. When we're in a desert, spiritually, emotionally, or even just lonely, the right friend can refresh our life. Thank God for friends! We should all have them - and we should all be them. When your season of thirst is over, and maybe it a season of rain, share your well! Water your thirsty friends! When you're no longer huddled by the fire, warm someone else! Share your heat! When you're coming out of the rain, hold the umbrella for someone who is desperate! Share your shelter!
Seasons change. They change daily and often they change before we sense it. Be careful to continue valuing the people who value you. If you're loved, chose to be lovable and love back.
Sometimes we have to step out of the rain and regroup before we can hold an umbrella for another, and that's okay. But when you have something to offer then don't hold back. Be the friend that you needed. Be available, be real, have hard and uncomfortable conversations, listen, choose to listen when you don't understand or even agree. Sometimes we must help our friends by saying hard stuff, in love, but often being a friend isn't about doing something, but just listening.
All this to say, the ebb and flow of life will naturally pull you this way and that. Sometimes our lives go in different directions. But if your life flows right past your friend's door, make a stop now and then. Bring coffee. Or bring tissues. Don't be afraid of the hard stuff. When you're a friend in the inconvenient times, you'll have friends when you need them. If you're so busy having fun with new friends that you have no time to play with your old friends, then you'll find you have no friends at all.
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